Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney is facing about six weeks on the sidelines with a knee injury.
Rooney picked up the injury in last weekend’s loss at Sunderland and could now miss United’s next eight matches.
“He scores a lot of goals so he is very important for us. We know that but we have to cope,” said manager Louis van Gaal.
The 30-year-old has not been included in the squad for Thursday’s Europa League match at FC Midtjylland.
Rooney completed Saturday’s match at the Stadium of Light despite the injury, but Van Gaal refused to be critical of the player.
“He’s a guy who wants to go until the end and if he’s feeling a pain he doesn’t want to go off. He wants to win,” he said
“That’s a fantastic attitude but sometimes it’s also bad for his body.”
United are fifth in the Premier League, six points behind fourth-placed Manchester City.
Rooney is likely to miss England’s two friendlies against Germany and Netherlands in late March, although his participation in Euro 2016, which begins on 10 June, is not thought to be in doubt.
It is not the first time Rooney’s preparations before a major international tournament have been hampered.
Prior to the 2006 World Cup he broke a metatarsal, and four years later he struggled with an ankle injury before the tournament in South Africa.
He was banned for the first two matches of Euro 2012 after being sent off in England’s final qualifier.