Manchester United players Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw and Victor Lindelof missed the FA Cup third round win over Watford through injury.
The trio were the only standout absences from United’s matchday squad in their 1-0 victory at Old Trafford, where manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was forced to introduce Harry Maguire, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford from the bench in an edgy affair.
Lindelof has been troubled by a back problem for over a year, Shaw missed over a month of the season with a hamstring injury and Pogba was out for three games in November due to an ankle issue.
Eric Bailly was forced off before half-time in the tie following a collision with Dean Henderson but Solskjaer does not think the centre-back suffered concussion.
“I honestly can’t tell you,” Solskjaer replied when asked how Bailly was. “I think he got a good whack, I don’t think it’s concussion, I think it’s his neck, which is sore. Hopefully a muscle injury but we’ll have to check it tomorrow and fingers crossed he won’t be out for too long.”
Bailly wrote on Twitter: “I am OK, it was just a knock.”
United have only lost two of their last 36 third round ties in the FA Cup and are bidding to win the trophy for the 13th time after eliminations at the quarter-final and semi-final stages in previous seasons under Solskjaer.
Solskjaer made nine changes against Championship side Watford and felt the overeagerness of some contributed to a taxing evening.
“Very happy to get through,” he added. “We started really brightly, I expected it to be the other way round – that we would need 15 minutes to get going to find our rhythm.
“But after a very good start we lost our shape, we lost too many balls that they got, we lost it easily. We started making difficult decisions, trying to complicate things and maybe show the manager, ‘I want to play in the next game’. I know they’re good players and they didn’t have to do that.
“But we’re through, that’s the main thing.”