Man Utd take on Anderlecht in the first leg of their quarter-final clash in the Europa League on Thursday, with Jose Mourinho still missing several players.
United will hope to stay on course to win another piece of silverware this season with an important away result against their Belgian opposition, and they’ll be buoyed following their win this weekend.
David de Gea was forced to miss the win over Sunderland with a hip injury while Antonio Valencia has missed the last two games, but Mourinho has suggested that both will be back available for their midweek trip.
“I just expect Valencia to be ready to play and no more, I don’t think. I don’t think any one of the other boys will be ready to play,” he told MUTV.
“We played with the players available [against Sunderland]. Not one single player stayed in Manchester because we were thinking about resting them, or because we were thinking about rotation or about Anderlecht. Not at all.
“De Gea’s injury is not serious and Romero every time he plays he plays so well.”
That would suggest that Phil Jones, Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling and Ashley Young will all still be sidelined, and so it’s far from an ideal situation for Mourinho who will be aware of the importance of winning the Europa League this season.
With the risk of missing out on the top four in the Premier League still hanging over United, triumphing in Europe this season will book their spot in the Champions League for next season. As a result, not having a fully fit squad at this stage could come back to haunt the Red Devils, but their Portuguese boss should be confident enough in the players at his disposal.
While United will surely not underestimate their opponents, they should have enough quality to pick up a positive result to take back to Old Trafford for the second leg later this month.