Anthony Martial Unlikely to Be Fit for PSG Clash, Says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMarch 4, 2019

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Anthony Martial of Manchester United, injured, leaves the pitch during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg match between Manchester United (Man U) and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at Old Trafford stadium on February 12, 2019 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Manchester United are unlikely to be able to welcome back any of their injured players for Wednesday's clash against Paris Saint-Germain, including Anthony Martial, according to interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. 

Before Saturday's 3-2 home win over Southampton in the Premier League, United were already missing eight players through injury. 

Alexis Sanchez picked up a knock against Saints and had to be substituted, and Paul Pogba will be suspended for the UEFA Champions League last-16 second leg against PSG after being sent off in the first match:

United have a 2-0 deficit to make up after being outplayed in the first leg at Old Trafford by the French champions.

When asked whether their chances would be boosted by the return of any sidelined players, Solskjaer did not have positive news, even on Martial, who was in contention to face Southampton, per Rob Dawson of ESPN FC:

"Not really, no. It doesn't look like [anyone will return]. I don't think we can risk [Martial]. He has not been training yet, so I don't think so."

The opening leg defeat is the only loss Solskjaer has suffered in 16 matches since he succeeded Jose Mourinho at the helm.

Despite United's vast improvement under the Norwegian, though, it seems likely their Champions League campaign will end at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday.

The Red Devils may have had a chance of overturning PSG's 2-0 lead if they had a full squad.

But the absence of Solskjaer's first-choice midfield three—Pogba, Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic—as well as the pace offered by Martial and Jesse Lingard means PSG are heavy favourites.

It seems likely Solskjaer will opt to start with Fred, Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira in the midfield, and a front three of Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku and an out-of-position Diogo Dalot.

Dalot, 19, is a full-back, but he replaced the injured Sanchez when United were 1-0 down against Southampton and played a big role in turning the match in United's favour:

Solskjaer refused to be downbeat about how United will approach the visit to Paris, per Dawson:

"We have got to go for it. We have a mountain to climb. We have quality players. Let's see how many we have got, though. That maybe is the biggest thing. Certainly for our players, they know what we are capable of, and we have spoken about it. They know that they are part of a special club that can do something like this. We are not going to go there and lay down. We are going to give it a go."

A lack of expectation could play in United's favour.

And PSG have recent form when it comes to surrendering a first-leg lead. They were knocked out at the last-16 stage by Barcelona in 2016-17 despite winning the opening leg 4-0. 

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