Manchester United face a huge showdown with Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, but they’ll do so without defensive pair Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw.
United host Spurs at Old Trafford and sit six points adrift of Mauricio Pochettino’s men ahead of kick off and a further three behind fourth-placed Manchester City.
In turn, Jose Mourinho will know the importance of picking up a positive result in this clash, as a defeat would be potentially devastating for their chances of qualifying for the Champions League.
However, he’ll have to make do without Smalling and Shaw after confirming that neither defender will be fit enough to feature, as per the Evening Standard.
Smalling has been out since October as he recovers from a broken toe while Shaw hasn’t featured since November 30 in the EFL Cup win over West Ham United.
It isn’t all bad news for United though as Eric Bailly will start a Premier League game for the first time since October, while Michael Carrick, Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian are all in line to feature after being rested for the Europa League tie with Zorya Luhansk on Thursday night.
United’s defensive troubles so far this season have been well-documented as have their overall struggles. They’ll be desperate to put that behind them on Sunday though as they will be fully aware that a win is of paramount importance heading into a busy and tough Christmas schedule.