MANCHESTER, Sporting Alert – Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has confirmed that goalkeeper David De Gea will not feature the Europa League round of 32 clash with FC Midtjylland on Thursday.
De Gea suffered a knee injury while warming up in the first leg tie last week and was unable to take part in the competition, which Manchester United shockingly dropped 2-1.
After missing the FA Cup win over Shrewsbury Town on Monday, Van Gaal was hoping to have his first-choice keeper back in goal for the all-important return leg against the Danish champions at Old Trafford.
However, the Dutchman revealed that the Spanish international will be unavailable.
“I was hoping for that but he shall not be involved, that is already certain,” he said on Manchester United official website.
This means Sergio Romero will continue to operate between the sticks, and the Argentine international has not done a bad job when called on.
Meanwhile, defender and leading centre-back Chris Smalling missed training on Wednesday, but now reason has been confirmed.
Elsewhere, Marcos Rojo will return to the squad and will likely start on the bench.
“Rojo has only trained with the second team yesterday and today with the first squad so he’s on the bench but is only good for 20 minutes or something like that,” Van Gaal said.
Manchester United were able to knock-off a low-key Shrewsbury Town side in the FA Cup to ease some of the pressure off Van Gaal, but even he knows that result will mean nothing to the fans or the club owners if his side fails to get the job done in the Europa League.
At the rate things are going in the Premier League, it is highly unlikely that the Red Devils will secure a top four place to earn a Champions League slot.
So this means the only way Manchester United will win a Champions League place is to go out and win the Europa League.