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The doom and gloom surrounding Manchester United was lifted momentarily after the Red Devils cruised into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with a 3-0 win over Shrewsbury Town in the fifth round. The win, however, was marred by more bad news on the injury front, with the manager revealing that Cameron Borthwick- Jackson and Will Keane have joined the lengthy injury list that already boasts of 12 first-team players.
The 20-times English champions face a crucial week ahead of them in the Europa League and Premier League as they face a must-win clash against FC Midtjylland on Thursday (25 February) before welcoming rivals Arsenal to Old Trafford on Sunday (28 February). Louis van Gaal's future at the club has come into question once again following their dour performance against the Danish side in the first-leg of the Europa League last 32 clash, which they lost 2-1 and it will be imperative that his team continue their winning form in the coming week.
United are already facing a major injury crisis at the club and are mainly crippled in the defensive department, with Chris Smalling and Daley Blind their only fit defenders at the moment. Guillermo Varela and Borthwick-Jackson have been covering for the injured Matteo Darmian and Luke Shaw at right and left-back respectively. The latter has now joined the first choice full backs and their back up Antonio Valencia, Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones on the treatment table, leaving the Dutch manager without any options going into their two crucial clashes against Midtjylland and Arsenal.
Van Gaal was disappointed to lose two more players to injury and this double blow following a morale boosting win in the cup prompted the manager to blame the intense fixture schedule, which will see the Old Trafford club play four matches in the space of 10 days. Van Gaal also withdrew man of the match Juan Mata and forward Anthony Martial in the 65th and 71st minute respectively and admitted that he was being cautious owing to the number of knocks his players have suffered. The latter is the only recognised forward in the squad following injuries to Wayne Rooney and Keane, who was only recently recalled into the first-team set up.
"I changed [Juan] Mata and [Anthony] Martial to give them rest and then the substitutes are more or less again injured, so it is unbelievable — it is the programme I think," Van Gaal said, as quoted on United's official site.