Video: Louis van Gaal on the injury crisis that has gripped Manchester United
Wayne Rooney is set to be dropped back into a central midfield role when Manchester United take on Chelsea on Saturday, after an injury crisis has gripped Louis van Gaal’s squad.
Rooney has excelled since being deployed in a central striking position over the last few weeks, but injuries to Michael Carrick and Marcos Rojo – as well as doubts over the fitness of Daley Blind - will force Van Gaal to shuffle his pack.
"We have four players injured from the last match, so that is not so good,” confirmed Van Gaal. “I hope that we can recover two of them (Blind and Jones), but Carrick and Rojo are out.
“That's the worst scenario, because Rojo and Jones can both play on the left side of central defence. Evans is also suspended, so I have a puzzle for tomorrow.
“Blind and Carrick can play the holding midfield position, so I don't have any option there. So maybe I will have to play Rooney there. Other players can profit from the situation now."
Injuries may have been the focus on Van Gaal’s pre-match press briefing, but his opposite number at Chelsea insisted United have the resources to cover for the absence of star men.
“The Man Utd squad is amazing, so no problem,” said Blues boss Jose Mourinho.
“Even if they have injuries, their squad is amazing. Of course they can cover the loss of their players. Mata, Di Maria, Januzaj, Rooney, Van Persie. Their defenders are exceptional and Van Gaal is a fantastic coach.”
Mourinho went on to suggest his players will not be tempted to play for a draw to consolidate their position at the top of the table, as he claimed his team’s motivation is burning brightly.
“To play Man United is to play one of the biggest clubs in the world,” he added. “It is to play against one of the best teams in the Premier League and this what everyone wants.
“This week I didn’t need to worry about motivating players because there is no need. It was an easy job. It is always a motivation the same in every match, but these ones are easy. Everyone wants to play.
“They are fighting for the title now, not next season, but now. You listen to what their players are saying and they believe they can fight for the title now.”
Check out this video of Man Utd players preparing for the trip to Chelsea from the club's Twitter feed below: