Having already lost Ashley Young and Phil Jones to injury, Manchester United fans were left fearing the worst when Ander Herrera was taken off with seconds to spare against Swansea City.
The game was already well into injury time and Herrera's replacement, Michael Carrick, barely had time to break a sweat before the final whistle blew. The only reason for the substitution, some theorised, was that Herrera must've been injured.
Louis van Gaal, who was celebrating his first win as Manchester United manager since November 21, was asked post-match whether Herrera would be ok to play in their next game against Sheffield United.
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Much to the relief of the Old Trafford faithful, the only reason for the change, as Van Gaal happily admitted, was to run down the clock.
He told reporters: "I changed Herrera because I wanted to waste time - what Swansea City were doing for the whole match."
Unfortunately, Van Gaal was only able to make one tactical substitution as United hung on to a 2-1 lead. The Dutchman had already brought on Matteo Darmian (45mins) and Paddy McNair (78mins) to replace the injured Jones and Young.
For Jones, it is a recurrence of a troublesome ankle injury while Young was left suffering from an overworked Christmas period.
“Phil Jones is injured," Van Gaal said. "And it's more or less the same injury as before.
"Ashley Young has played a lot of matches in a row, so he was stiff and had to be changed. It was not voluntary, I changed them because I need to change."
Time for change
The Manchester United players would have been happy to see 2015 come to a close, not least the captain Wayne Rooney, who has seen his reputation as a world-class performer diminish significantly over the last 12 months.
But a crucial win against the struggling Swans kept them within touching distance of Premier League leaders Arsenal and a classy winning goal from Rooney got his year off to the best possible start.
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