London: Manchester United’s hopes of upsetting the odds against Premier League leaders Liverpool on Sunday suffered a fresh blow as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed both Paul Pogba and David de Gea will miss the clash at Old Trafford through injury.
De Gea pulled up with a muscle problem during Spain’s 1-1 draw away to Sweden in qualifying for Euro 2020 on Tuesday and is expected to be sidelined for a few weeks.
“David needs a scan,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports. “I think he’ll be out.”
Pogba was absent for France during the international break due to the recurrence of an ankle problem that has seen him start just once in the Premier League since August.
The World Cup winner played 90 minutes against Rochdale in the League Cup and Arsenal last month, but missed United’s latest defeat at Newcastle just before the international break.
“He came back and played a couple of games, maybe played through the pain barrier,” added Solskjaer.
“He had a scan after the Arsenal game and maybe needed a few weeks’ rest in a boot, so hopefully he won’t be too long, but he won’t make this game, no.”
Solskjaer is, though, hopeful that Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Anthony Martial will make their return from injury against Liverpool, even if they are not yet fit enough to play 90 minutes.
“Hopefully Aaron and Anthony will last through the training this week and be available for selection. If it’s for half a game or 30 minutes, I don’t know, but let’s see where they’re at,” said Solskjaer.
Meanwhile, Mauricio Pochettino does not want to make major changes at Tottenham in the January transfer window despite a poor start to his sixth season in charge.
Spurs have won just three of their opening 11 games in all competitions, crashing out of the League Cup to fourth-tier Colchester and suffering a humiliating 7-2 defeat at home to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
That has led to suspicions that the current Tottenham squad has grown stale, with little movement in the transfer market in recent years.
However, Pochettino retains faith in the players that have helped the club make huge strides over the past five years, reaching the Champions League final in June.
“I don’t believe (there will be any signings),” said Pochettino on Thursday. “I believe in the players that we have.
“If it is my decision I am going to stick with my players because I know they have the quality.
“It is only to unlock some situation that is going on in their minds. I know we have the quality to be fighting for the things we expect to fight for.”
Pochettino was dealt a double blow in a 3-0 defeat to Brighton before the international break as captain Hugo Lloris suffered a dislocated elbow that will keep him out for the rest of the year.
Harry Kane will therefore assume the Spurs armband, as he does for England.
Pochettino was fulsome in his praise for how Kane handled the racist abuse aimed at England players during Monday’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Bulgaria.
The game in Sofia was stopped twice by the referee, with England eventually winning 6-0.
“The way Harry behaved was top,” added Pochettino. “The way he handled the situation on Monday was exemplary, fantastic, he showed calm, followed the rules. We’re so proud of how he behaved.
“He’s become a natural leader. It’s fantastic news for England and Tottenham.
“We will miss Hugo for a few months and to have Harry to step up is important, like others who are important players and mature. They will step up, assume their responsibility and handle problems when they happen like this.”