Jose Mourinho has confirmed Wayne Rooney’s unavailability for the mid-week clash with Anderlecht as Manchester United aim for European glory.
With the race for top-four in the Premier League hotting up, there is little certainty over the Red Devils being able to occupy a Champions League qualification position from the domestic league, which has made winning the UEFA Europa League a priority for Jose Mourinho and his Manchester United squad.
The Red Devils, however, will continue to be without their captain Wayne Rooney, who is struggling with fitness issues, the manager confirmed in the pre-match conference, lamenting on the fact that the player is not happy with his condition and is working towards being fit as soon as possible.
“He is not happy with his condition. He’s trying to work, which he does, but he’s not confident, he’s not happy. He has bad feelings with his ankle and he’s not ready to play. Let’s see for the weekend, let’s see for next week. We don’t have many players and need everyone to try to be available. For tomorrow, no.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 12, 2017
On the defensive front, Antonio Valencia has missed the last two games but was back in training on Wednesday. The right-back is expected to return to action on Thursday, which is in line with Jose Mourinho’s statement on the Ecuadorian earlier in the week.
Elsewhere, Sergio Romero is to retain his place in goal, as the Argentine has been Mourinho’s automatic choice in the Europa League while it remains to be seen whether David De Gea is fit in time for the Chelsea fixture on the weekend.
Juan Mata will be a sore miss but Henrikh Mkhitaryan will hope to make up for the missing Spaniard. Luke Shaw was handed a vote of confidence after a strong showing against Sunderland and is likely to start again on Thursday, as he works his way back into Mourinho’s plans.
Marouane Fellaini led the team out against Sunderland and is expected to be retained in the starting lineup by Jose Mourinho. It would be interesting to see, however, if the Portuguese hands Anthony Martial a start out wide or whether he chooses to go with the workhorse Jesse Lingard or the eclectic Marcus Rashford instead.
For Anderlecht, Andy Najar is doubtful and he will be a very dear miss for the Belgian side, if the player does not feature. However, all eyes will be glued on Youri Tielemans, who is on the radar of a host of top European clubs and it would be interesting to see how the midfielder copes with the pressure.