Paul Pogba is an injury doubt for Manchester United’s Premier League showdown against Arsenal.
Pogba completed 90 minutes in Wednesday night’s EFL Cup tie against Rochdale at Old Trafford, where United needed a penalty shoot-out to see off their League One opponents after a 1-1 draw.
The France international did not take a spot-kick and missed a team-bonding event afterwards, adding fuel to the latest round of speculation that he will seek an exit from the club in January.
But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told a news conference on Friday that Pogba suffered a swollen ankle during the Rochdale game, having only just returned from a similar complaint.
He said: “The situation is he finished the game – 90 minutes, fantastic – but got a knock to his ankle, which is very swollen.
“It was better for him not to go there with the team. He’s in a race for Monday. He’s a doubt, that’s just the way it is.”
Solskjaer “wouldn’t put my life on” Marcus Rashford (groin) and Anthony Martial (thigh) returning for the Arsenal match, meaning he might have to put his faith in Mason Greenwood.
The 17-year-old has scored on both of his senior starts against Astana and Rochdale this season, although his manager is wary of over-burdening the youngster.
“He’s proven when he’s been on the pitch in the last two games he started that, when you get him in the box, he’s dangerous,” added Solskjaer.
“What’s pleased me about him in the period that we’re in is he doesn’t turn down chances to finish. He’s not 18 yet but keeps trusting himself.
“He gets the chances so we’re not worried about that at all. But we can’t just throw him in the deep end all the time.
“He’s proved in those games he’s ready for it. Now, Premier League… I’ll have the weekend to think about it.”
A lack of goals is a problem that might be compounded by injuries to the likes of Martial, Rashford and Pogba.
Since the 4-0 opening weekend win over Chelsea, Solskjaer’s side have not scored more than once in a match this season.
“You can see how much we’ve improved defensively. That’s where we put the big money in with Aaron [Wan-Bissaka] and Harry [Maguire].
“We don’t concede too many goals. Then the other way, going forward we’ve struggled with injuries. We’ve had some bad luck in that respect.
“It’s about building relationships. It doesn’t help when you lose players. These boys, they need to get the patterns of play and work with it all the time.
“If you’re half a second earlier in your movement it’s so much easier. Sometimes the finishing could have been better and it’s frustrating when you’ve got massive chances and you don’t take them. That’s also down to some outstanding keepers out there.”