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Man Utd Boss Offers Fitness Update On Duo Ahead Of Chelsea Clash

Jose Mourinho has offered a fitness update on two key Manchester United players ahead of their trip to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea on Sunday


Jose Mourinho has offered an update on the fitness of Chris Smalling and Henrikh Mkhitaryan ahead of Manchester United’s huge Premier League clash with Chelsea this weekend.

Smalling started alongside Eric Bailly during Thursday night’s Europa League group stage match with Fenerbahce but with the team leading 3-0 at half-time, the England international was replaced by Marcos Rojo at half-time.

Mourinho revealed after the game that Smalling was suffering from a muscular problem so with his side in control of the game, he decided to take him off but is hopeful the centre-back will recover in time to make the trip to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

The Portuguese coach also offered an explanation as to why Mkhitaryan wasn’t involved against Fenerbahce last night after the summer signing was declared available for selection before the game.

The Armenian international hasn’t featured since the Manchester City game in early September after suffering a thigh injury while on international duty last month but returned to full training last week.


Mkhitaryan was surprisingly omitted from the matchday squad last night and Mourinho has said he decided the attacker was better off working on his fitness in training rather than playing 15-20 minutes against the Turkish giants.

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“He had a bad muscular feeling,” the boss told us. “We were 3-0 up so we decided to change. Hopefully he can recover for the weekend.”

“The situation is that we played with Lingard, with Mata and Martial,”

“I am not an Einstein, I don’t know a tactical system to play with four wingers at the same time. He [Mkhitaryan] has to work more to get the intensity and the real fitness to play at the high level.

“To have him here tonight on the bench and to give him 15 to 20 minutes, like I did with Memphis, I thought it would be better for him to work the way he did yesterday and much harder, obviously.

“I thought it would be much better for him to work today, like he did in the specific session, than to wait for his chance. But he is ready. He is ready very soon.”

We’ll have to wait and see whether Smalling or Mkhitaryan are involved against Chelsea on Sunday as United head to the capital looking for a win that would see them leapfrog the Blues in to fifth in the Premier League table.

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