Nemanja Vidic hopes Manchester United's defensive injury crisis will have eased by the time Fulham visit Old Trafford on Saturday.
Vidic, 30, was United's only fit specialist centre-back as they began their campaign with a 1-0 defeat at Everton on Monday.
He was paired with out of position midfielder Michael Carrick, while, with Antonio Valencia starting at right-back, there were only two recognised defenders in the Red Devils' back four.
Rio Ferdinand, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans were all missing, but Evans could be available for selection by the weekend.
Although Marouane Fellaini out-jumped Carrick for the only goal at Goodison Park, Vidic said United's injury list was not the reason for the defeat and refused to blame the Englishman.
"When you come to places like Everton, who will play long balls into the box, you need big, strong defenders, but we won't use injuries as an excuse," he told MUTV.
"We knew it would be a hard game. They did what they're best at - playing long balls and focusing on set-pieces. They had a few chances and in the end deserved to score, but we're never happy when we concede from a set-piece.
"I thought the players who came in gave their best, and hopefully we'll have a couple of defenders ready for the next game."
Right-back Rafael da Silva, an unused substitute at Everton, could also come into the side in place of Valencia against Fulham.