Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United squad travelled to Poland on Monday night as they prepare for the Europa League final against Villarreal in Gdansk
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knew it would be a tall order for Manchester United to emerge from their fixture pile-up free from injury.
United made the journey to Poland on Monday night, as they prepare for Villarreal in the Europa League final in Gdansk.
A win would finally see Solskjaer break his trophy duck, after several near-misses in the previous seasons.
But he is likely to be without his defensive talisman Harry Maguire, who is unlikely to feature on Wednesday night.
Maguire is struggling with an ankle injury, but has still been named in Solskjaer’s 26-man squad that departed England.
“He’s still walking very gingerly. He’s travelling [to Gdansk] of course,” the United boss said this weekend.
“I’ll give him until Wednesday afternoon on that one, but I don’t have high hopes.”
The fact that Solskjaer will be without one of his most important players will be a source of huge frustration after he warned Premier League bosses this is exactly what could happen.
After the win over Roma, the Norwegian slammed a run of games that had United playing five times in a fortnight.
“We’ve been dealt a very bad hand by people who sit behind a desk in suits who never play football or understand what this is about,” he said.
“I’ve got to look after the players, that’s the biggest thing.
“Two games in three days is difficult but you can accept that we do that at Christmas. Two games in three days after a long season, with all the games we’ve had, even more difficult.
“Three games in five days, very very difficult, almost impossible. Four games in eight, it is impossible.
“We cannot risk injury for players and that’s too much of an injury risk.”
But in the first game after that impassioned speech, Solskjaer’s worst fears came true when Maguire suffered an ankle ligament injury.
Fred and Scott McTominay also picked up knocks in the drab draw at Fulham, although they are expected to be passed fit come kick-off time.
For Maguire however, he now looks set for a race against time to be included in Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2020 squad, with the England manager delaying his official announcement until June 1.
It now looks increasingly like that will end his season, in an incident that his manager felt was entirely avoidable from the off.
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