United dealt triple injury blow

Sunday 24 February 2019 17:19

Manchester United were dealt a triple injury blow in the goalless draw against Liverpool, after Ander Herrera, Juan Mata and substitute Jesse Lingard were all forced to leave the field during the first half.

The situation meant United became the first Premier League team to make three substitutions in the first half since Burnley had to do it in January 2015, in a game against Newcastle United.

Herrera was the first player to depart after 20 minutes, as he went down holding his hamstring. The Spaniard was replaced by Andreas Pereira.

Herrera was the first player to go off injured.

Mata followed his compatriot back to the dressing room five minutes later after he was injured in a challenge from James Milner. United's no.8 had initially hobbled on and he successfully denied Mo Salah a goalscoring chance, but he was then replaced by Lingard.

After being called on earlier than he would have anticipated, Lingard soon went down himself, clutching his hamstring after an incident in which he almost broke the deadlock. Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson did well to smother at his feet after he so nearly latched on to Romelu Lukaku’s through ball. Our no.14 did not recover and he had to give up his place to Alexis Sanchez on 40 minutes, just 15 minutes after coming on.

United caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer subsequently revealed that Marcus Rashford had also picked up an injury, to his ankle inside the first minute.
"We probably we should have taken Marcus off as well," admitted the Norwegian, in his post-match interview with Sky Sports.

"He was injured in the first minute, with the first tackle they made on him – one of plenty. [Jordan] Henderson went through him, his ankle is like a balloon, and that was one of many fouls on him. If that’s not an accumulation of fouls I don’t know [what is]."
Mata was the second United player who limped off.
When asked if he was worried that Rashford could have made the injury worse by playing on, Solskjaer said: "Very, but he’s a warrior and he’s a Manc and he knows what this means. We had to keep him on, because we already had to make three subs.

"You’re never surprised in football. You’ve always got to be ready for anything, [even] losing three players in the first half with hamstring injuries."

Despite the injuries, Solskjaer is confident he will still be able to select a strong side to face Crystal Palace on Wednesday evening at Selhurst Park. 

"We’ve lost a few with muscle injuries, hamstrings, but we’ve got some good kids coming through, so don’t worry about it," he said defiantly. "We’ll have 11 players on the pitch on Wednesday night as well. Luckily we’ve got two days of recovery.”