- Published: Friday, 09 December 2016 14:27
UNITED'S TEAM NEWS FOR TOTTENHAM CLASH
Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw have been ruled out of Manchester United's home meeting with Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday but Eric Bailly should be able to play his first Premier League game since October.
Bailly appeared to pick up an injury during the second half of Thursday's 2-0 win over Zorya Luhansk but soldiered on and produced an impressive performance in his first outing after sustaining a knee problem at Chelsea almost seven weeks ago.
When asked whether England internationals Smalling and Shaw could return this weekend, the boss said "not Sunday, no" but confirmed there were "no problems" with Bailly, who will be absent for a different reason next month when he represents Ivory Coast in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Mourino admitted that will be a "big loss", adding: "Let's hope Smalling can recover in time to replace him in the squad because, with so many matches, we need players. At the moment, we have Phil Jones, Bailly and Marcos Rojo [as centre-backs]. We play Tottenham, West Brom and Reading, West Ham away [among others] - in that period we have a lot of matches and it is important to have players."
Full-backs Matteo Darmian and Antonio Valencia, plus ex-Spurs midfielder Michael Carrick, did not make the trip to Ukraine after starting against Everton but will hopefully be fresh and available at the weekend. Juan Mata may have picked up a knock in Odessa, judging by the discussions he was having after being substituted, while David De Gea is expected to return in goal in place of Sergio Romero, despite another clean sheet for the Argentinian.
Wayne Rooney is free from his domestic suspension after serving a one-match ban at Everton and the skipper will be hoping to get a chance to find the net against Spurs, a club he has often tormented in the past, as he continues to chase United's all-time goals record.
"We expect more goals from him but we expect more goals from everyone," added Mourinho. "Maybe Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] is the one [main goal threat] but maybe, as the main striker, it's normal he has scored more goals."