Injuries have been an issue for Manchester United all through the season. Most of the players have recovered but the Red Devils will be missing the home boy Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the Europa League final in Stockholm.
In the pre-match interview for the last Premier League fixture, Jose Mourinho revealed that Marouane Fellaini is the only doubt for the Europa League final.
The Belgian midfielder has played a crucial role this season. His goal against Celta Vigo gave United the breathing space during the game and eventually proved to be winning goal that took them to the final.
Mourinho prefers to use the player in the 3 man midfield setup alongside Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera.
In the mid-week fixture against Southampton, Fellaini was forced to be substituted while he was seen to be holding his muscle on his way off the field.
The manager was adamant that the player has not torn a muscle and are awaiting scans before taking a decision. Smalling picked by an injury in that very game but Mourinho confirmed that it was a ‘small problem’ and will be fit for the final.
Mourinho is quoted saying by Manchester Evening News –
Smalling has a problem but a small problem that I think no problem at all for next week,
Problem for the weekend but not for the final and Marouane is the question mark, is the question mark we wait for today’s scans.
We decide not to do yesterday, again his feelings are not bad, but let’s wait.
And Timo Fosu-Mensah plays Sunday and if the reaction is good and if he manages to play the game without problems he’s a new option for us for the final.
Paul is fine,Strong guy, strong mentality. He’s learning how to live after his father passed away but he’s strong and he knows he needs to play on Sunday.
Because he doesn’t play, he doesn’t train for a long time and he needs this minutes on the pitch, so he plays against Palace.
Mourinho is set to give as many as 6 debuts against Crystal Palace this Sunday. He looks to shield his players from any injury before the big game against Ajax. He confirmed that Paul Pogba and Fosu-Mensah will be handed game time.
Paul Pogba missed the last 2 games following the demise of his father. Aged 79, he was being treated for a long-term illness. Pogba inclusion is purely based on his absence as he will need the minutes to feel the ball on his feet once again.
With Fellaini is ruled, Mourinho might have to start Michael Carrick in Stockholm. Mourinho is a little reluctant with the thought as he looks to make a side with pace be up against a pretty young Ajax side.