Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed that defender Luke Shaw will miss Sunday’s Emirates FA Cup semi-final clash with Chelsea at Wembly.
The left-back was injured against his former club Southampton on Monday, and both he and his replacement at Old Trafford that night, Brandon Williams, were subsequently ruled out of the win at Crystal Palace on Thursday.
However, the boss hopes homegrown product Williams will have recovered from the facial injury he suffered against the Saints in time to be in consideration this weekend. Tim Fosu-Mensah filled in capably at Selhurst Park, and already has experience of playing in a last-four tie in the competition, against Everton in 2016.
“Luke will be out,” the boss told us.
“I can’t see him recovering. Brandon will hopefully be okay, he’ll try to join in training today with his eye. We’ll see if he can see the ball when he comes in! He should be fine.”
Ole must decide whether his players can keep going after a hectic schedule, against a side that has had 48 hours’ more rest and recovery time, or if he needs to introduce some fresh legs into his XI.
“We’ve not seen a lot of them [the players] because we’re just coming up to a training session now,” he added.
“But I’d rather have this game than not have it. We can’t say it [the scheduling] has been unkind, it is what it is and, when you get the opportunity to play a semi-final, you’ll squeeze that in even if you have to play on the same day.”
Sergio Romero has been preferred for FA Cup games this term, while Odion Ighalo has shown his worth in attack in previous rounds.
For the win against Norwich City in the quarter-finals, Solskjaer suggested he had it in his mind to select a similar team to the one on duty at Derby County in early March, perhaps hinting at a trend with his selection for this competition.
Jesse Lingard came off the bench at Palace and, particularly considering his record at Wembley, he could come into the frame for a starting spot.
“The team is not selected yet and that goes both for Jesse and Sergio,” insisted the manager later, in his press conference.
“They’ve got a good chance of being involved, so we’ll make a decision on that later on.”
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has ruled N’Golo Kante out of the Wembley encounter, with youngster Billy Gilmour also still missing.
Like Solskjaer, Lampard has some key decisions to make over his selection with a crucial Premier League fixture taking place at Anfield on Wednesday, when Liverpool will receive the trophy.