Sunday 16 December 2018

Jose Mourinho hopeful over fitness of crucial duo

Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera have been missing

Jose Mourinho is hopeful
Jose Mourinho is hopeful

By Simon Peach, Press Association Chief Football Writer

Jose Mourinho hopes to have Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera back in time for Manchester United’s Champions League clash at Sevilla.

The duo missed last weekend’s 1-0 loss at Newcastle with unspecified muscular injuries and will again be absent as United face Huddersfield in the FA Cup fifth round on Saturday.

However, Mourinho has not given up on Herrera and Rashford being available for next week’s Champions League last-16 first leg at Sevilla.

“No (for tomorrow), chance (for Sevilla),” the United boss said of the pair.

Marcus Rashford is injured

“Yes (it is an important week), but let’s go step by step. The next one is the one that, tomorrow 7.30pm, we are out of the FA Cup or we are in the quarter-final.

“Tomorrow is black or white. It’s not grey. Tomorrow is really important because it’s a knockout match.

“We are going to face the game in the best possible way.

“Sevilla is half of a knock-out, so not so crucial as Huddersfield, but almost.”

Tomorrow is really important because it’s a knockout match Jose Mourinho

Eric Bailly could return from a three-month injury lay-off at the John Smith’s Stadium, while striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is back in training after a knee complaint.

Marouane Fellaini and Daley Blind have also been sidelined of late, with teenagers Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes pushing for a place in the squad at Huddersfield.

“If, for you, promotion is that they train regularly with us, they have been promoted for a long time,” Mourinho said when they were mentioned to him.

“Scott McTominay didn’t arrive here from the moon. Before he came to the first-team he trained with us many times last season.

Angel Gomes is impressing at Manchester United

“He came to us in pre-season and then we realised that with Andreas Pereira going to Valencia, we decided not to buy another player because we had Scott McTominay ready to step up.

“If that’s the concept of promotion, the kids are promoted all the time.

“Maybe tomorrow I will have one of the kids on the bench.

“The objective of having a squad that is not so big is exactly to be open for this

“This week, for example, we didn’t have a few players with injuries and small things we wanted to protect and didn’t train with the team and made individual training, the kids trained with us yesterday and before that.”

Maybe tomorrow I will have one of the kids on the bench Jose Mourinho

Talented midfielder Pereira should return a better player from this season’s loan spell at Valencia, but Mourinho still plans to bolster the middle of the park this summer given the impending retirement of United’s captain.

“We need to sign a midfield player because we are going to lose Michael Carrick,” the United boss added.

“Of course, we need balance in the team. I told you that one or two months ago when we were speaking about the market.

Michael Carrick

“When some of you keep saying that we are going to buy that striker, that winger, that left winger, that right winger, I told you two months ago.

“You can accuse me of many, many things, but you cannot say that I lied to you. When I don’t want to say things, I don’t say (them). But I don’t take you in other directions.

“When I told you a couple of months ago that we don’t want to sign any striker or any winger and, yes, we are looking, and we are going to try to sign a midfield player, I told you that two months ago.”

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