Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

LVG'S RAID ON BRIDGE HIT BY FOUR CROCKS ; If United's Title Hopes Were Slim Beforehand, Loss of Carrick, Jones, Rojo and Blind Make It Even More Difficult as Van Gaal Takes His Troops to Chelsea

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

LVG'S RAID ON BRIDGE HIT BY FOUR CROCKS ; If United's Title Hopes Were Slim Beforehand, Loss of Carrick, Jones, Rojo and Blind Make It Even More Difficult as Van Gaal Takes His Troops to Chelsea

Article excerpt

LOUIS van Gaal won't unfurl the white flag in the title race, but a return of the debilitating injury list that undermined United's earlyseason campaign has thrown his hopes of de-stabilising Chelsea into chaos.

The Reds could reduce Jose Mourinho's side's lead to just five points at Stamford Bridge with victory tonight. Though the Londoners would still have a game in hand with five matches for United, winning at the Bridge would turn the heat up on the stuttering leaders.

"It (the title) is still possible, I have said that already before but it is not logical," said the United manager.

"It is more when and if and I don't believe in when and if. I believe in facts. The fact is we are behind Chelsea but, alright, we have to play against them - so does Arsenal - so we can lay pressure on Chelsea's shoulders, that's true and then you never know.

"You have seen that also in previous Premier League seasons so it is always possible. I cannot say it is not possible but it is not logical."

Logically the Reds' chances of damaging Mourinho and Co has been dealt a quadruple injury blow.

United have been struck with a post-derby injury crisis as they head to Stamford Bridge. Van Gaal has ruled out Michael Carrick, Daley Blind and Phil Jones, who all started the 4-2 derby triumph against City.

The quartet of crocks was made up by Marcos Rojo, who came on as a sub against the Blues.

Carrick came off early last Sunday, with United already having used their three subs, and his tight calf muscle injury has not healed quick enough for the trip to West London.

Blind was crunched by City skipper Vincent Kompany just before halftime and as a result his ankle problem has KO'd him. Rojo came on for Jones against City, who damaged an ankle, and then suffered a stomach injury himself.

Added to the absence of Jonny Evans, who is serving the last of his sixmatch ban for the spitting incident at Newcastle, it throws Van Gaal into a defensive and midfield crisis.

Luke Shaw is expected to return at left-back and the Dutch boss is contemplating moving Wayne Rooney back into midfield and that will mean a probable start up front for Radamel Falcao with Robin van Persie still not fit enough for a starting comeback. …

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