Man Utd team news: Key attacking duo out to seal Man City downfall, Mourinho slams defensive pair again

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Man Utd face rivals Man City in a crunch showdown at the Etihad on Thursday night, and Jose Mourinho has his fair share of selection headaches.

With Zlatan Ibrahimovic out for the rest of the season, Wayne Rooney started the win at Burnley at the weekend, but the United boss could be set to make a key change up front.

According to The Sun, Marcus Rashford is lining up to start up front after being tested in training in that position, which would suggest that either Jesse Lingard or Anthony Martial are likely to miss out, based on the starting line-up at Turf Moor.

However, as the report goes on to note, it isn’t all positive for the Portuguese tactician as he still seems less than impressed about the commitment being shown from defensive pair Chris Smalling and Phil Jones.

Both players are currently sidelined due to injury, knee and foot problems respectively, and have missed the last seven matches due to the issues. With Marcos Rojo out for the rest of the season, Mourinho has urged the England duo to be brave and show their desire to recover ahead of schedule.

It looks as though he’ll be left disappointed with Daley Blind set to start, but he didn’t shirk away from calling them out publicly again.

“It’s not just about them. It’s about the philosophy and mentality around them. Cautious. Cautious. Cautious. Just a cautious approach.

“It’s a profile, it’s the philosophy of work. Just that.”

When asked if he believed that players are less inclined to put their bodies on the line nowadays, he responded: “Professional football at a high level? Yeah.”

He did insist that they both have a future under him next season at Old Trafford, but you have to feel as though if he splashes out in the summer transfer market on another central defender, this season will not help either of them play regularly as they run the risk of falling down the pecking order.

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