Solskjaer won't guarantee Ighalo will play against Chelsea

The Nigerian striker’s former Watford team-mate is pleased to see an international colleague living out his dream at Old Trafford

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains unsure if Odion Ighalo will make his Manchester United debut against Chelsea on Monday.

The 30-year-old striker joined the Red Devils from Shanghai Shenhua in January but was unable to join the club on their winter break due to travel restrictions on those who have been to China in recent months.

Ighalo was made to train separate from his United team-mates this week due to ongoing concerns around the novel coronavirus.

The former Watford star was expected to line up against the Blues at Stamford Bridge, but Solskjaer says he cannot guarantee the new signing will play.

"I never said he was going to be ready to play on Monday," Ole said at a press conference on Friday.

"He'll be involved with us and he'll travel down with us and, obviously, now he's out of that two-week period of precaution and it's a precaution we've made.

"He'll travel with us and let's see if he's involved or not.

"He's done his [training programme] and it was always going to be a case of him having to integrate into the group anyway after having been out in China. He needs to get used to the players and the team and up to speed as quick as he can."

United have several injury problems to contend as they gear up for their return from the winter break. 

Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford remain sidelined for the time being and Scott McTominay and Axel Tuanzebe are close to a return, but they are not fit enough to feature in the Premier League encounter.

"I don't think we'll get anyone back for the Chelsea game because Scotty, Axel, Tim, they didn't join too much so they're not ready to play that game," Solskjaer added. "And Paul is not ready, of course.

"How do we go about playing without Marcus, Paul, Scott? You deal with it.

"We've got players who are going to get a chance. They've now had a rest, a great rest."

United are eighth in the table and six points behind fourth-placed Chelsea in the English top-flight heading into the headline clash.