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Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has revealed that Phil Jones may return to action for the Premier League trip to Chelsea on Sunday (7 February) but Bastian Schweinsteiger will remain on the sidelines. The Dutch boss, meanwhile, claimed that "there is some light at the end of the tunnel" for the long-term absentees as Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo and Antonio Valencia are progressing well from their injuries.
The Premier League giants visit Stamford Bridge in fifth position in the Premier League but following a 3-0 midweek victory over Stoke City. The boss has expressed the importance of the game ahead of their title hopes while welcoming the positive news of the injury situation ahead of the last part of the campaign.
Jones will be the first one to return to action after having being out of action since the 2-1 victory over Swansea on 2 January. "There is some light at the end of the tunnel, I think," the manager told MUTV. "Jones is coming back. He has trained today [Friday] with the first team so that's good."
The game against Chelsea, however, will still come too soon for Schweinsteiger and the rest of the long-term absentees. Van Gaal has refused to set a deadline for the German international's recovery but confirming that he will not be in the squad for the trip to Stamford Bridge, having already missed the last five games after suffering a knee injury against Sheffield United on January 9.
"Rojo is doing well. It's not that he can train with us but, still, he is doing well. Shaw is doing well and Valencia is doing well so it's not bad. Schweinsteiger is still out, yes," he said.
The manager, meanwhile, was positive about Shaw after confirming that he has included the England international left-back in his Europa League squad for the final of the tournament, scheduled at Basel's St. Jakob-Park stadium on 18 May.
"He could play in the final, eh?" replied van Gaal when asked by MUTV if it is possible Shaw could feature in the Europa League by the end of the season. "Maybe you don't think that but it's still possible that Shaw could play in that final. I have said that to him. You never know. Still, it is halfway [through the recovery]. It can slow down, his revalidation, so we have to wait and see."