Manchester United have received their UEFA Europa League semi-final draw today, and they’ll be seriously injury depleted for thr final run. Beating Anderlecht at home last night in the round of 8 Thursday night came with a tremendous price. The Red Devils saw defender Marcos Rojo stretchered off, and leading scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic hobbling off due to what looks like a pretty serious knee injury.
When Jose Mourinho addressed the media after the clash, he said he was fairly negative about both situations.
United have a slew of injuries right now (detailed at this link), so they could really use both the services and the leadership of Wayne Rooney for this one.
“He has a good mentality, he is a fighter,” Mourinho said of the team captain, who has now recovered from an ankle injury.
“He is a strong man. Even if he is not in the best condition, even if he is not in the level of sharpness that you need to play high-level football, we need him. He has the experience and character, so he has to [be ready]. Now we need absolutely everyone.
“We are in trouble. In this moment, Eric Bailly has played six matches in a row, and we have lost Rojo, we don’t have Jones or Smalling, we are in trouble and now we lose Zlatan too.”
“But in attack, we have options. Rooney is coming, and let’s see if Mata can also return before the end of the season. Let’s see what happens.”
Heading into the Anderlecht match Jose Mourinho also spoke of Wayne Rooney, apparently forecasting a need for him could be upcoming.
“He is working now and he is improving and, if in this training session the answer is positive, I will select him to be on the bench tomorrow. With his experience and know-how of this knockout phase, he is a player who can be useful,” Mourinho said of Wayne Rooney.
“If we need a goal, he can help us. If we need to keep a result, have possession, keep the ball, he can help us too. So hopefully his answer in the training session is positive.”
“He had not big problems during the season, but a few small problems and sometimes when you get into a certain age … I am not saying he is old, we have older players, there are many older players in great conditions, but when you get to a certain age, it is a little bit more difficult to recover. I think it is just that.”
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times and NBC Chicago.com, contributes to Chicago Tribune.com, Bold, WGN CLTV and KOZN.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks