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Friday 20 September 2019

Solskjaer's task against Foxes now looks even harder

Ole Gunnar Solksjaer
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer
Paul Pogba

Injury-hit Manchester United could be without seven first-team players against Leicester, with Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial among those ruled out by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Returning to winning ways against Brendan Rodgers' in-form side at Old Trafford looked a tough enough task without a lengthy injury list that threatens to derail their afternoon.

Luke Shaw, Diogo Dalot and Eric Bailly remain sidelined, while Martial continues to be laid low with a thigh issue and Pogba has yet to recover from an ankle injury.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Jesse Lingard are doubts after withdrawing from the England squad with a back complaint and illness respectively, leaving Solskjaer with a selection headache.

"Well, the treatment room's been busy and still is," the United manager said. "So, we don't really know who is going to be available.

"There's maybe Aaron, maybe Jesse and I think maybe that's it from the ones that had to pull out, but I can't promise those two will be available either.

"Brendan's teams always play good football and we know we've got to play well to deserve the three points."

Pogba's absence looks a particularly big blow for United given the ongoing question marks over the midfield.

Only Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne has created more chances in open play this season than the World Cup winner, who pulled out of the France squad with an ankle issue sustained in the 1-1 draw at Southampton before the international break.

"Pogba won't be fit, no - unless he's had a miraculous recovery overnight from yesterday to today or maybe from tonight until tomorrow," Solskjaer said. "He's not been ready to do 100 per cent training, no. We hope more can be ready for West Ham next week, and Paul and Anthony are in that category.

"I think they'll be ready for then and can't say more than that, really."

It certainly looks like David De Gea is in for a busy afternoon - a player who continues to be the subject of speculation as contract extension talks drag on.

"I want David to stay here," Solskjaer added. "He knows that and David's, for me, the best goalkeeper in the world.

"We've seen that over the years, and I hope that I can make sure that he'll finish his career at Man United at the highest level."

Keeping it tight at the back will be key and Harry Maguire will be desperate to keep his former club at bay.

Saturday's match will be the first time the 26-year-old has faced former club Leicester since completing his £80million summer switch to United, becoming the most expensive defender in history.

"I think he's been brilliant," Solskjaer said. "I think he's come into the dressing room, been a leader, he's also obviously a leader on the pitch. You can see that. I'm sure he's looking forward to playing against his old team, but now he's here, he is going to be a big part of the future of this club."

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