Manchester United have been hit with somewhat of an injury crisis ahead of their crucial Champions League clash with Sevilla on Wednesday evening.
The Reds were without several key players for their 2-0 victory away to Huddersfield in the FA Cup on Saturday, with Scott McTominay and Victor Lindelof handed starting berths, and youngsters Ethan Hamilton and Angel Gomes making the bench for the tie.
Manager Jose Mourinho has admitted that United are likely to be without some important squad members ahead of their trip to Spain, and it is the first of two tough fixtures in a week for United – as they then face Chelsea on Sunday.
United were without the likes of Marcus Rashford, Antonio Valencia, Ander Herrera, Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo at the weekend – but were boosted by the return of Ivorian centre-half Eric Bailly who was absent since November.
Mourinho admitted (via Sky Sports) that while Valencia, Herrera and Rashford are likely to be fit for the clash at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, he is set to be without four others while Pogba remains a doubt.
“Rashford, Herrera, Valencia, I think they have a chance. Paul (Pogba), I don’t know.
“Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Marouane, Zlatan – I don’t think they have any chance, so we arrive at this crucial moment with some problems.
“But I think mentality is very important. And we have a strong team, strong bonding, strong team mentality.
“We know it is a very difficult match – but we go for it.”
The game represents United’s first outing in the knockout stages of the Champions League since 2014 – when they were defeated by Bayern Munich at the quarter-final round.
Mourinho has become the man entrusted to guide United back to the latter stages of Europe’s premier club competition, and while it is assumed widely that the Reds will overcome the challenge of the Spaniards, it seems as if victory will have to be achieved without several key figures.
The injuries have circulated at just the wrong interval for the three-time European champions but expect others to step up to the mantle in their absence.
Jordan Norris, Pundit Arena