United striker could miss rest of season with a back injury
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed that striker Marcus Rashford may be out of action for the rest of this season and hinted that he could miss the Euro 2020 finals with his back problem.
United's leading scorer picked up a back injury in the FA Cup tie against Wolves last month, with initial suggestions that he could make a return in the final weeks of this season now placed in doubt by Solskjaer.
Ahead of tonight's Europa League game against Club Brugge, the United boss has painted a pessimistic picture of Rashford's recovery period as he gave a broad hint that he is planning without him for the next couple of months at the very least.
"I would hope he's playing this season, but it'll just be touch and go, so hopefully we get through this tournament and prolong the season," said Solskjaer.
"It takes time, I'm not a doctor, but I was hoping he would recover quicker than it actually looks like he's going to be out for. Another few months (out), definitely. I would hope he plays before (Euro 2020), but we're not sure and if he's not fit enough he won't go.
"He had a scan and it was maybe a more severe fracture than what we hoped for and expected. He felt fine the few days before that. When it heals he'll be stronger for it, so it's important we don't rush him and we won't do that."
United's hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League may have been boosted by UEFA's decision to ban Manchester City from next season's competition, which may mean Solskjaer's side only need to finish fifth in the Premier League to secure a spot in Europe's elite competition.
Yet winning the Europa League would also guarantee a Champions League spot and that is Solskjaer's first target.
"At the moment, we're talking about this tournament and we want to go through," stated Solskjaer when asked about Man City's ban. "We dream about winning this tournament, that would also give us a chance if we go far.
"But we have to improve, we have to get better, we have to be more consistent and if we get the results we've got a chance to be in the top four."
Odion Ighalo could make his first start for United in Belgium, with the Nigerian striker impressing Solskjaer since his arrival at the club in a loan move on transfer deadline day last month.
"Odion is a different type of striker, a goal scorer, we have seen him in training he knows how to play as a centre forward he's a fantastic professional and human," he added.
"He has already added to the squad and they've taken to him. We hope he will sharpen up because it's been a while since he has played and he needs to do a little extra after training. We need to give him as much game time as possible. I'm sure he will take his chances."
Meanwhile, The Football Association will not be investigating homophobic chants made by Manchester United fans at Monday's Stamford Bridge match against Chelsea.
A number of fans were prevented from entering the ground ahead of the Premier League clash and others were ejected during United's 2-0 win, according to Chelsea.
The FA take Chelsea's report seriously and remain in regular and ongoing discussions with the police, Kick It Out and the Crown Prosecution Service on what language is deemed discriminatory.
But there will be no official investigation into behaviour that Chelsea said would not be tolerated at Stamford Bridge.
A statement published on the club's website on Tuesday read: "At last night's match a large group of Manchester United supporters made unacceptable homophobic chants.
"A number of these away supporters were prevented from entering the stadium and others were ejected during the game.
"This behaviour will not be tolerated at Chelsea Football Club.
"Those supporters will be banned from attending matches at Stamford Bridge in future, and in cooperation with Manchester United we have passed the details of those supporters to them so they can take appropriate action.
"Chelsea Football Club is a diverse and inclusive club and will always take firm action against all forms of discriminatory behaviour."
United said a song sung by some members of the away end ran counter to the club's values.