Van Gaal: Injured Jones likely to miss a month

The defender picked up a hamstring injury while on international duty with England, though Luke Shaw is fit to make his debut against QPR following his move from Southampton

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has admitted that Phil Jones could miss up to a month of action after suffering a torn hamstring.

The defender was replaced by Phil Jagielka late on in England’s win over Switzerland and is now set for a spell on the sidelines.

Jones joins a long list of players who are unavailable to Van Gaal, though the coach is hopeful that summer signing Luke Shaw will be able to make his debut against QPR after recovering from his own hamstring injury.

“[Marouane] Fellaini is more than a month away, Jones maybe three weeks or a month. [Michael] Carrick isn’t ready but has run for the first time on grass,” he told reporters.

“[Sam] Johnstone has elbow problems, [Chris] Smalling isn’t fit enough, [James] Wilson and [Reece] James are not ready yet. [Ashley] Young and [Jesse] Lingard are also injured.

He added on Shaw that “he is fit enough to play some minutes”.

The Red Devils have failed to win any of their four competitive fixtures since Van Gaal took over in the summer, with many writing off the club’s chances of adding to their 20 league titles.

But the former Barcelona coach is confident his side can recover and is eyeing up a top-three finish that would see them automatically qualify for the Champions League group stages next season.

“We’ve spoken about targets. A club like Manchester United has to set targets and I think within the top three is logical,” he said.

Sunday’s encounter against Harry Redknapp’s side could also see Radamel Falcao make his debut, with the striker’s loan move from Monaco leading to questions regarding Van Gaal’s selection in attack.

But he was unwilling to give away his side, with Robin van Persie, Juan Mata, Angel Di Maria and club captain Wayne Rooney all vying for roles in the team.

“We shall see who plays on Sunday. I’m a coach who always decides based on what I have observed.

“We’ve done very well in the transfer market. That’s a big plus, and we have to produce results, starting against QPR.”

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