Harry Maguire doubtful for Europa League final but Solskjær remains hopeful

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<span>Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA</span>
Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has said Harry Maguire will miss Manchester United’s final three games of the Premier League season and remains a doubt for the Europa League final against Villarreal.

The United manager delivered an upbeat assessment of the defender’s ankle ligament injury before Tuesday’s defeat by Leicester but afterwards admitted his positivity was “maybe stretching it”. Maguire, injured in Sunday’s win at Aston Villa, attended the Leicester game at Old Trafford on crutches and wearing a protective boot on his left foot.

Related: Leicester’s vital victory over young Manchester United hands title to City

United’s captain will miss Liverpool’s visit to Old Trafford on Thursday and the remaining league games against Fulham and Wolves. He has two weeks to recover for the Europa League final in Gdansk and any long-term issues could affect his participation in the European Championship with England. Gareth Southgate is due to announce his 26-man squad the day before the Europa League final.

Solskjær said: “The good news is it wasn’t broken, there was no fracture, but of course a ligament injury is serious. If I’m very positive, and that’s maybe stretching it, I’m hopeful he might be ready for it. I don’t think he’ll play in the league again but we’ll do everything we can to get him ready for the final.

“It’s about the long term. If he’s fit then he’ll play for us and if he’s not he won’t. But, as I said, we are hopeful that he’ll be ready and if he’s ready for us he’ll probably be ready for the Euros.”

Solskjær made 10 changes for the defeat by Leicester, which not only confirmed Manchester City as Premier League champions but dented Liverpool’s hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League. Solskjær has promised to make changes again and said the repercussions for other clubs were not his concern.

“My job is for Man United,” he said. “My concern is the Man United fans and what they think about my team and what they want from my team and that we come together as one to show what Man United is.

“A lot of the players who played against Leicester did really well so they are in contention. It’s about managing the squad now and building momentum, building confidence, making sure we get enough points to finish second and then going into the final full of confidence.”

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