Mourinho’s Team News Update: 5 Man Utd Players To Miss Southampton + Lukaku Concern

By on December 29, 2017

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Manchester United will look to get back to winning ways when they take on Southampton at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.

Ahead of the game, Jose Mourinho has been speaking to the media at his pre-match press conference this afternoon and he’s provided the latest team news and injury updates.

The United boss expressed his concern over the fitness of Romelu Lukaku as Mourinho says the striker is in desperate need of a rest after playing every minute of Premier League action so far this season.

However, the Portuguese coach feels he’s unable to give Lukaku a breather as Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still working his way back to full fitness after recently returning from a serious knee injury.

It means Lukaku is once again expected to lead the line up front against Southampton this weekend despite Mourinho claiming the striker is feeling the effects of playing so much football in recent months.

Mourinho told ManUtd.com:

“No, I can’t [give Lukaku a rest]. Now, I say 20 matches in the Premier League, 90 minutes [for Romelu]. I think for a striker, for any player, [it] is absolutely incredible. But if you are central defender, if you are a holding midfield player, if you are in certain kinds of positions where you can control your energy and positional play a little bit more, you can resist and survive.

“But, for a striker in the Premier League, to play 20 matches, 90 minutes, I have to be very grateful for his personality and for his character. He’s been unlucky in our box in recent matches. He was in the picture, I’m not saying he was a direct influence, in some of the latest goals we conceded. It’s a consequence of a player who really needs a little rest or just a consequence of the moment of the occasion. But the guy is fantastic for me and the team and gives absolutely everything and I have no criticisms.”

Both Lukaku and Ibrahimovic started during the 2-2 draw with Burnley on Boxing Day and Mourinho says they may play together in the future but not until both players are back to their best.

Mourinho continued:

“It can happen  but, for it to happen, they both need to be in their best moment and they are not. One is not because the situation in this team didn’t allow him to have any rest and is giving absolutely everything in every minute and we just managed to give him a little rest in cup matches and, even so, he was on the bench for emergency situations.

“The Champions League was about the same – we had to fight until the last match for qualification and the boy is tired. He’s physically a monster but he’s not a machine and I think he’s feeling it. And Zlatan is a man with an incredible injury, an injury that a 20-year-old man or a 20-year-old young man would suffer [from]. Imagine a man who is 37 years old and so many miles in high-level football, so it’s not easy. We did that [play the two together] against Burnley and we will do that in some more matches if we need to do it, but I think for both of them to play together, we really need them to be at their best level.”

Mourinho didn’t provide any update on Anthony Martial but the attacker is expected to return to the squad after taking part in full training yesterday having missed the Burnley game with a minor knock.

However, Chris Smalling is set to miss out with a groin strain while Antonio Valencia is also still nursing a hamstring injury that’s kept him out of recent matches.

Marouane Fellaini is still working his way back to full fitness from a knee injury, Eric Bailly is out until at least early February following ankle surgery while Michael Carrick is on the sidelines because of a heart condition to Mourinho will be without 5 first team squad players this weekend.

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