United team news prior to Chelsea trip
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hinted that loan signing Odion Ighalo could make his Manchester United debut against Chelsea on Monday night.
The manager confirmed earlier this week that Ighalo would travel down to London with the rest of the squad, and suggested that the fact the Nigerian has not yet trained with his team-mates wouldn’t keep him out of contention for the match at Stamford Bridge.
“I never said he was going to be ready to play on Monday,” Ole told reporters at his pre-match press conference.
“He'll be involved with us and he'll travel down with us and, obviously, now he's out of that two-week period of precaution and it's a precaution we've made.
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“He'll travel with us and let's see if he's involved or not.
“He's done his [training programme] and it was always going to be a case of him having to integrate into the group anyway after having been out in China. He needs to get used to the players and the team and up to speed as quick as he can.”
The Norwegian harked back to his own club debut, against Blackburn Rovers in 1996, when he came on as a substitute and scored.
“I didn't have to have a training session to come on and do something.
“As a striker, sometimes you just get thrown out there and do what you can. It might be that he'll have to come off the bench and get us a goal and then he just does whatever he's always done.”
Ighalo's fellow new signing Bruno Fernandes is in line to make his first United appearance away from home.
Scott McTominay and Axel Tuanzebe both travelled to the Reds’ winter training camp in Marbella and worked closely with fitness staff, but Ole has admitted the match against the Blues will come too soon for the pair, who have been out since December.
Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford also remain on the sidelines, while Tim Fosu-Mensah - who is yet to make an appearance this campaign, but was also in Spain - has suffered a minor injury setback, yet hopes to be involved before the end of the month.
“I don't think we'll get anyone back for the Chelsea game,” added Ole. “Because Scotty, Axel, Tim, they didn't join too much so they're not ready to play that game. And Paul is not ready, of course.
“How do we go about playing without Marcus, Paul, Scott? You deal with it.
“We've got players who are going to get a chance. They've now had a rest, a great rest.”
CHELSEA TEAM NEWS
Frank Lampard confirmed in his Friday press conference that Monday’s match will come too early for Christian Pulisic. The American winger is still building up his fitness after a month on the sidelines. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is also inching closer to selection after a ruptured Achilles but he won’t be making his first appearance of the season against United.
One player Lampard hopes will be involved is Tammy Abraham. The 22-year-old picked up an injury against Arsenal at the end of January, although he was involved in the Blues’ last fixture, at the King Power Stadium, two weeks ago.
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