Man Utd boss Jose Mourinho has confirmed that neither Anthony Martial nor Wayne Rooney will feature against Rostov in the Europa League on Thursday.
United return to Old Trafford with a 1-1 draw from the first leg of their last-16 clash in Russia, and there had been fears that they would still be short-handed after losing to Chelsea in the FA Cup on Monday night.
Marcus Rashford was able to recover and start at Stamford Bridge, but Martial and Rooney will play no part this week as they continue to struggle with injury.
That in turn means that Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s availability will be key again, as the Swede’s suspension only applies to domestic games and so it’s widely expected that he will start on Thursday night.
Nevertheless, it’s a blow for Mourinho to be short up front as there is every chance that his side will need to score as he certainly won’t send them out to protect their lead on away goals.
While he was full of praise for his squad, he was evidently irked by the packed schedule that they face this month and reflected on his frustrating Monday.
“First gift was to play Monday, second was 10 men, third was to have promenade on M6,” he told the media, as reported by The Mirror. “Only thing I tell you is that my players put effort in on Monday night and Tuesday 12oclock they trained again.
“I have a fantastic group of guys here, the effort they put in is fantastic. That’s all I can say.
“Tomorrow we go with everything that we have, the fans will give us a little bit of extra energy. Tomorrow we believe we can cope with the situation and reach the quarter-final.”
Following on from the Rostov game, it’s another quick turnaround with a trip to Middlesbrough on Sunday. It remains to be seen whether or not results can help improve Mourinho’s mood as he certainly didn’t appear to be a happy man on Monday.