Jose Mourinho is traveling without three key first-team players to St. Jakob-Park as Manchester United prepare to face FC Basel on Wednesday.
Manchester United will be bidding to confirm their status as winners of Group A when they take on FC Basel at St. Jakob-Park on Wednesday. Ahead of the Matchday 5 tie, Jose Mourinho has very few injury concerns on his hands, although defence is a bit of a problem area.
The heart of defence is giving the Manchester United boss a few headaches, with Phil Jones (thigh) and Eric Bailly (unspecified) on the treatment table since the international break. The duo, in addition to Michael Carrick (calf) did not feature in training and are, thus, not part of the traveling squad to Basel.
Mourinho addressed the absence of Jones and Bailly during his pre-match press conference, informing that the duo will miss Wednesday’s game, with Chris Smalling set to start in their stead. He also said that Jones will miss the game against Brighton this weekend, but Bailly could be fit for the Seagulls’ visit.
“Smalling is playing all the time, and well. Tomorrow he plays again, but we don’t have Jones and we don’t have Bailly again. Jones doesn’t play tomorrow and he won’t play at the weekend. It’s a proper injury. I think he [Bailly] has a chance for the weekend.”
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Mourinho also confirmed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be a part of his matchday squad yet again on Wednesday, following his cameo against Newcastle United last weekend. The Swedish striker will start on the bench once again.
“Zlatan goes on the bench tomorrow and normally he plays. He needs to play and he’s useful for us. He keeps the ball. If the team isn’t winning, his presence will be important, and he can play with Lukaku.. Instead of 15, he may play 20 or 25 minutes, but he’s not in condition to start.”
The Manchester United boss also addressed questions about Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s exclusion from the matchday squad against Newcastle, claiming that the Armenian was not considered because he had a lot of options at his disposal on Saturday.
“Micki is not playing because we had lots of options for that match. I decided to play Marcus Rashford and Martial together. For many weeks, the questions was – why do they not play together? Now the question is why is Micki not playing. The answer is every simple – until the international board change the rules, I can only start with 11!”
FC Basel boss Raphael Wicky, meanwhile, has a few absentees as well, with key midfielder Taulant Xhaka suspended, while the likes of Omar Gaber (illness), Germano Vailati (shoulder) and Ricky van Wolfswinkel (foot) are unavailable as well.