Manchester United will be without six first team players when they take on Watford on Saturday, including Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial and Michael Carrick.
United will also be with Marouane Fellaini, Antonio Valencia and long term injured Luke Shaw.
“I think that everybody knows Michael Carrick and Anthony Martial are injured, but also injured is Marouane Fellaini,” van Gaal told manutd.com. “That’s a surprise because I thought he was recovered after the international break, but still he is injured. And that’s a big blow because Rooney is ill, so we have a big problem, I think.”
Martial was seen leaving Wembley Stadium on crutches after the England – France game, but van Gaal hopes that he will be back on Wednesday when United takes on PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League.
“It’s not so heavy as everybody has written in the media, but he cannot play against Watford,” van Gaal said. “Maybe PSV for Martial but it’s not certain, and I think Rooney shall also play then because illness is not something of many days. And Valencia, of course, has been operated on before the international break already, then Shaw, so we have five injured players, and that’s a lot.”
James Wilson will most likely start up front for United against Watford, but van Gaal don’t believe that the 19-year-old striker will be able to play the full game.
“Wilson is okay after the international break,” van Gaal said. “He can play but he cannot play a whole match because he doesn’t have the rhythm of the game.”