Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed he hopes to have a full-strength squad available to him for what could be a crucial week for his team.
United will travel to San Siro on Thursday to meet AC Milan knowing that they must score to have a chance of progressing to the next round of the Europa League, after which they will switch their attention to the FA Cup quarter-final tie with Leicester City.
There’s obviously a lot riding on both games, and Solskjaer revealed after Sunday’s 1-0 win over West Ham United that he expects to have all his attacking options back available for the hectic week.
“Big week, Europa League and FA Cup,” he said (via the club’s official website). “So looking forward to getting a few players back hopefully for Thursday and then, hopefully, put a good performance out.
“We are hopeful five of them will be back. David [De Gea] hopefully. Donny [van de Beek], Edinson [Cavani], Paul [Pogba] maybe and Anthony [Martial] likely, he is very likely to be back so a stronger squad to travel to Italy with.”
With so many injuries and absences, United have endured a mixed run of form in recent weeks. They needed an own goal from Craig Dawson to squeeze past West Ham and came into that game on a run of four draws in their last five matches.
With United still trying to settle themselves, Solskjaer was well aware of just how important it was to come away with the three points against David Moyes’ side.
“It was massive for us,” he continued. “We know what momentum can give you or take away from you and, of course, the goal we conceded in the last minute against Milan, it is a mental test. How did we react and everyone has reacted in the right way. We have kept a clean sheet.
“We started poorly. The first 15 minutes, I have to say, we kept giving them easy turnovers, giving them chances to break on us. Then again our back four, they won the ball back for us. The recovery was really good and we kept them away from hitting the target once. Dean [Henderson] didn’t have one save to make which is the sign of a good performance.
“Big three points, we know West Ham are challenging to get into top four, so a big result, we kept a clean sheet again which we’ve done really well lately, defensively, so the attitude, desire, determination is getting better and then the experience, the confidence will come because we’re still a young team, with young players up front there. We’ve had a few injuries, but the ones who’ve played have performed.”