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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019

Van Gaal concerned by injury-hit Manchester United defence

Marcos Rojo, Paddy McNair and Luke Shaw are all currently sidelined and the Dutchman admits he will have to reshuffle his backline against Sunderland this weekend

MANCHESTER UNITED WILL have to field a makeshift defence against Sunderland due to injury problems, manager Louis van Gaal has revealed.

Injuries to Marcos Rojo, Paddy McNair and Luke Shaw have severely diminished United’s defensive ranks – while Phil Jones has just returned from a lengthy lay-off.

Van Gaal has preferred the combination of right-footed Chris Smalling and left-footed Daley Blind as his first-choice centre-back pairing so far this term, but now faces the prospect of a defensive reshuffle.

“The left-footed players, Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo, are injured, so I have a problem,” said Van Gaal, whose side progressed to the fourth round of the League Cup with a comfortable 3-0 win over Ipswich Town at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

“I have changed every player except a left-footed player so Daley Blind has played all the minutes [this season].

“We have to spare some players, but I cannot spare Blind because all the left-footed players are injured.

“Smalling had also played all the minutes and because of that I substituted him [against Ipswich] and brought Jones in.

“It is not so easy to do that, but I asked him [Jones] after the game if he felt fit and he said he did. He could easily have played more minutes so that’s a good signal.”

United have made a promising start to the Premier League season and sit second.

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