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Lukaku set to miss Solskjaer's first game in charge of Man Utd against Cardiff

4:23 AM EST 12/21/18
Romelu Lukaku Manchester United 2018-19
The Belgian forward appears to be unavailable for the Norwegian first match in temporary charge of the Red Devils on Saturday

Romelu Lukaku is set to miss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first game in charge of Manchester United against Cardiff City on Saturday.

The former United striker was asked about the Belgian's availability at his first press conference and revealed that the former Everton forward is likely to be missing.

When asked about the 25-year-old's availability, Solskjaer told reporters: "Lukaku has had a couple of days off, I’ve not seen him yet and I’ve not seen Alexis because he’s on his way back as well.

"I’m looking forward to seeing them."

Reports have claimed that Lukaku's absence is due to compassionate leave and that the striker will also miss the visit of Huddersfield Town on Boxing Day.

The news of Lukaku's absence is an early blow for Solskjaer, who will now likely turn to either Marcus Rashford or Anthony Martial to start in attack against Cardiff.

The Norwegian also explained that his first-team selection would be heavily influenced by coaches Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna as he gets to know his squad, and asserted that every player would be given an opportunity ahead of the hectic festive period.

"Of course, it's Michael [Carrick] and Kieran [McKenna] who have been here for the whole season.

"They've had their say and input, but there are so many games in the next 10, 15 days, so it's about picking a team that you think is going to get results.

"We need results but, then again, every player needs to know that they're probably going to get their chance in this period, because that's just the nature of the game over here in England, that we have to rotate.

"Kieran and Michael have been great, I have to say. It's great being back home and seeing the development already, because I played with Michael, how good a coach and man-manager he is already, so it's been really helpful.

"The job now is to get to know the players, observe them, see the qualities that we've got.

"Of course, I've seen more or less every game from Norway when I've had time from the other job [as Molde boss]. But, to get to know the players and think about what I can do to improve them, that's my job."

The trip to Cardiff on Saturday will hold further significance for Solskjaer as it is the first time he has faced the club he previously managed, with the Norwegian in charge when the Bluebirds were relegated in 2013-14.

United are currently sixth in the Premier League table, a massive 19 points behind leaders Liverpool and will be desperate to get the Solskjaer era off to a positive start in Wales.