The extent of Sir Alex Ferguson’s influence at Manchester United these days is unclear.

He is still the most distinct and resonant voice at Old Trafford though, so when he goes public with a request for patience in Louis van Gaal you can’t help but wonder if something is afoot.

The master – perhaps even godfather – of kidology, Fergie never said anything for nothing.

Has the club genuinely run aground in its efforts to find a new manager? Is he trying to relieve the pressure on the beleaguered boss and his young team? Or is it simply a distraction to take attention away from the pitch?

United’s second consecutive 1-0 win – and fourth home win in a row – saw them leapfrog (or, at least, clamber) over West Ham into fifth place.

It wasn’t pretty though and, even if Van Gaal does somehow manage to steer United into a Champions League finish, no amount of smoke screening from Fergie will convince fans this is good enough.

Fitness boost

Ashley Young was an unused substitute on Sunday but under-21s coach Warren Joyce named the 30-year-old in a strong line-up against Chelsea last night.

Young was tireless throughout the 90 minutes – his first game back in almost three months. The side also included Phil Jones and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson but Wayne Rooney was a notable absentee.

No surprise over Rooney

Despite several optimistic media reports suggesting Rooney would be involved on Monday, the skipper was never expected to play.

Only last week Rooney had this to say on his recovery: ‘I’m back outside running now so I’m hoping to be in full training in the next week or 10 days.’

To risk him before would be foolish. A place in the match day squad at home to Aston Villa is a much more realistic target.

Shaw still hoping to go to the Euros

Luke Shaw is ‘doing great’ although Van Gaal admits a return this season appears unlikely.

However, the player himself is keen to keep his faint Euro 2016 hopes alive by returning to action in May.

The young left-back began work outside with the physios on Monday but is still some way off joining the training coaches never mind the first team.

Manchester United injury news: striker won't be rushed, winger close to return, defender weeks away

Schweinsteiger injury a blow

Bastian Schweinsteiger won’t play again domestically this season after suffering a recurrence of his medial knee ligament injury while on international duty.

The German midfielder spent two months on the sidelines after he was injured in the FA Cup and now this latest setback threatens to rule him out of this summer’s European Championships.

Blind back to face Tottenham

Van Gaal was quick to allay injury fears after Daley Blind was replaced on Sunday. The Dutchman cited fatigue for the midfielder come defender who has played every minute in the Premier League since October.

‘I will give him two days off this week and then he will be okay again,’ he said.

Wayne Rooney
Injury: Medial knee ligament injury
Estimated return date: Mid-April.

Will Keane
Injury: Groin Surgery.
Estimated return date: Ruled out for the season.

Luke Shaw
Injury: Double leg fracture
Estimated return date: Targeting a return in May.

Bastian Schweinsteiger
Injury: Knee ligament injury.
Estimated return date: Ruled out for the season.

Phil Jones
Injury: Ankle Injury.
Estimated return date: Lacking match fitness. Assessed weekly.

Daley Blind
Injury: Unspecified knock / fatigue.
Estimated return date: Next weekend.

 

 

 

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