Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed Edinson Cavani will not be rushed back for Thursday's Premier League clash with bottom side Sheffield United, keeping in mind the hectic end-of-year schedule.
The Uruguayan striker, 33, returned to training after missing the past two games due to a muscle injury he suffered against West Ham on December 5.
"Edinson has done well in rehab but we still have to make the decision if we should risk him because it would be a risk," Solskjaer said on Wednesday.
"I doubt he will be available tomorrow. We have to be mindful of little strains and niggles."
Solskjaer has been constantly mentioned as being at risk of losing his job, most recently after last week's Champions League exit.
However, a win over Sheffield United would see them leapfrog Chelsea and Manchester City after both of them dropped points on Tuesday.
They also have a game in hand on those above them – they are only five points off the top of the table duo Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool – but face a manic series of six games in just over two weeks.
Solksjaer says the inconsistent set of results will be a feature of the season due to all the teams having so many fixtures crammed into a shorter space of time.
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The present season started a month later than planned due to the coronavirus pandemic, which halted the campaign last term for three months.
"With the tight schedule all around the world, I think we will see throughout the season whoever gets a midweek rest might get a big advantage," he said.
"If you are playing midweek every week it is hard to have everyone 100 per cent sharp."
Meanwhile, Solskjaer said he sympathised with Slaven Bilic after the Croatian was sacked by West Bromwich Albion and stressed on the need for clubs to think about long-term continuity rather than instant results.
"I think these times in a pandemic and what's happened has made everyone sit back and think... I'm very sad to hear Slaven has lost his job. He did a great job getting them promotion," Solskjaer said.
"I've known him for years and I'm sure he'll get a job again.
"Hopefully more and more clubs will think long term. It's a short term business and you need short term results, but everyone knows that continuity is the key to success and sometimes they don't have the patience for it."