Video - Man Utd rocked by Wayne Rooney injury blow
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has confirmed that his captain Wayne Rooney could be out for at least six weeks with a knee ligament injury.
Rooney has found some form in the opening weeks of 2016, so it was a surprise when it was confirmed that he would not be part of United's party travelling to face Midtjylland in the Europa League on Thursday.
Now Van Gaal has offered clarity on the issue, after confirming Rooney will miss most of what is left of this season.
"We have 13 players injured and Wayne Rooney is one of them," confirmed Van Gaal at his pre-match press conference.
When asked to qualify how long he expected to be without Rooney, Van Gaal stated: "You can never say. He has a knee problem so we must wait and see.
Van Gaal then backed French youngster Anthony Martial to step into the role as lead striker in Rooney's absence, as he admitted he was lacking some options in his forward line.
"He scores a lot of goals so he is very important for us. We know that but we have to cope with that.”
Van Gaal - who continues to face big question marks over his future at United - went on to confirm he will do all he can to find a way to win the Europa League, with the winners of UEFA's second tier competition handed a place in next season's Champions League.
"It’s a fantastic aim for us to win this cup because Manchester United has never won it," he added.
"We’re one of the biggest clubs in the world so there’s pressure. But if we stick to the game-plan, we should win.”
These are the games Rooney is likely to miss:
Midtjylland vs Man Utd - 18th Feb
Shrewsbury vs Man Utd - 22nd Feb
Man Utd vs Midtjylland - 25th Feb
Man Utd vs Arsenal - 28th Feb
Man Utd vs Watford - 2nd March
West Brom vs Man Utd - 6th March
Man Utd vs Crystal Palace - 12th March
Man City vs Man Utd - 20th March
Man United vs Everton - 2nd April
Tottenham vs Man United - 9th April
Man United vs Aston Villa - 16th April