Ralf Rangnick has confessed that Edinson Cavani faces a race against time to prove his fitness ahead of Tuesday's meeting with Brighton and Hove Albion.
The Uruguay striker was left out of the squad for Saturday's 1-1 draw with Southampton after picking up a groin injury in a training session the day before, leaving Cristiano Ronaldo as the only recognised striker available to the boss.
When asked whether Cavani would make it back for the Brighton game, Rangnick admitted: “I don’t know to be honest.
“I thought and was told after training yesterday that he would be available for today [Southampton] but, after training, the doctor came to see me and then I spoke to Edi and I told them let’s wait until this morning before the game and see if treatment can make things any better.
“But then I spoke to him today before we had breakfast and he said to me that the pain is too big and he cannot play.”
In Cavani's absence, Ronaldo failed to find the back of the net as United surrendered a lead for the third successive game in all competitions, and Rangnick returned to his claims that his side simply need to score more goals, Ronaldo included.
“He would have wished to score, I would have wished him to score, the whole team would have wished him to score,” Rangnick said of Ronaldo. “I think today, he had his good chances. Probably one of the best chances in the game was when he rounded the goalkeeper. He also had good moments in the second half.
“Again it is not only Cristiano, as a team we create enough chances. I would be more worried if we only had one or two chances in a game.
“Our expected goal-ratio was 2.75 but we only scored one. If we are not able to keep a clean sheet when we are 1-0 or 2-0 up, then it is important to score a second or third goal.
“Right now this is one of our two major points criticism that we are just not effective enough, if you compare the amount of chances we create and the amount of goals we are able to score.”