Marcos Rojo suffered a dislocated shoulder as Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal’s defensive options were further depleted as his side lost 1-0 to rivals Manchester City.
Rojo had to be taken off early in the second half – after Chris Smalling had earlier been sent off – to leave United seeing out the game with Michael Carrick and Paddy McNair in central defence.
With such a makeshift backline it looked inevitable that City would eventually find a way through and Sergio Aguero’s 63rd-minute strike was enough to settle the contest.
Afterwards, Van Gaal confirmed Rojo’s injury.
He said: “The shoulder is out so you never know how long that is out.
“You never know how long that will take I have to wait until tomorrow, I think, but he shall not play against Crystal Palace I think.”
With Smalling and Rojo set to be out for next week’s clash against Palace at Old Trafford, Van Gaal may be forced to field a patched-up backline from the start but he insists they will manage.
“We have still 11 players to play and also very good players so I don’t cry for that but it is sometimes difficult to select the best team – but I think I can manage that,” he added.
“And we are close, you can see it every week but we need more points. When I see the fans they are applauding after the game so they see also the boys are willing to give everything for the shirt.”
The United boss had no complaints over Smalling’s dismissal, suggesting that after picking up his first booking the former Fulham man should not have lunged in at James Milner the way he did to get his marching orders.
He said: “Yeah, I think the first, I didn’t see that, but the referee is giving a yellow card and then you know as a player you can’t do what he did for the second yellow card. That’s logical I think.”
His opposite number Manuel Pellegrini saw his side arrest an alarming three-match winless run but he was disappointed by the way City switched off.
He said: “I’m very happy with three points. We must win and we played very well up until the moment we scored the goal. After that we maybe we finished playing thinking that the game was over but it wasn’t over.”
City skipper Vincent Kompany said: “A derby win is massive. For a minute the league doesn’t matter and everything else doesn’t matter.”