Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has confirmed that captain Wayne Rooney faces a long spell on the sidelines with a knee injury.
"We have 13 players injured and Wayne is one of them,” the Dutchman said during his press conference on Wednesday ahead ofThursday's Europa League clash with FC Midtjylland.
“You can never say [how long he could be out for]. He has a knee problem so we have to wait and see.
“He scores a lot of goals so he is very important for us. We know that but we have to cope with that.
"Certainly in 2016, he has scored and that’s why we had a good run in matches until Sunderland. But we have to cope with that. Everybody can be injured and also the captain can be injured.”
Van Gaal hinted that Rooney suffered the injury during the Premier League defeat at Sunderland on Saturday, but played on.
The Dutchman added, while bemoaning his side's piling cases of injuries: “That’s also typical Wayne. He’s a guy who wants to go until the end and if he is feeling pain, he doesn’t want to go away, and certainly when you are drawing a match because he wants to win.
“That’s a fantastic attitude but also it’s bad for his body. You do not know when it happened, so that’s the difficulty.”
Matteo Darmian limped out of the clash with Sunderland at the weekend and the Dutchman has confirmed that the defender suffered a dislocated shoulder.
“Darmian has a dislocated shoulder. It’s not the heaviest type so we are lucky, but he’s injured and out," Van Gaal said.
"Cameron Borthwick-Jackson is ill and cannot play either. So we have 13 players injured or not capable of playing.
“Fellaini is also injured. He has a muscle problem because he has played a lot of matches in a row.”
When asked ked who could fill the Rooney-shaped hole in hos team, Van Gaal replied: “We have in Martial another striker, he has played several matches in this role and wants to play in it.
“I knew in advance that Rooney would play a lot of matches, then I have called Will Keane back and he has done very well in the second team. "Sometimes you have to show it at the higher level and maybe he’ll get the chance to show it – you never know."
Van Gaal believes that Midtjylland’s main threat will come at set-pieces and is preparing accordingly.
“We don’t have tall players so we know that in advance. Midtjylland are specialised at set-plays. They have scored 48 goals from them, so we will try to organise for that but it’s difficult," he said.
“We hope we can do that but we mustn’t give too many corners or free-kicks away. The early one against Sunderland was not a free-kick. My compatriot van Aanholt went down for nothing and you have to cope with that.”