Jose Mourinho has been handed a huge fitness boost ahead of Manchester United’s UEFA Europa League semifinal first leg at Celta Vigo on Thursday.
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Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly and Paul Pogba all trained on Wednesday as United’s injury fears are easing considerably.
Mourinho’s biggest concerns were in defense where he lost Luke Shaw at the weekend to a foot injury and the 21-year-old left back is expected to be out for the rest of the season. Shaw’s injury came after Marcos Rojo suffered a season-ending knee injury, plus Smalling and Jones had both not featured since being injured on England duty in March.
Bailly has been carrying a knock but battled through the last two games against Manchester City and Swansea City (he twisted his ankle against the Swans and had to come off on Sunday), while Pogba last played for United against Burnley in the 2-0 Premier League win on Apr. 22. Pogba, the most expensive signing in soccer history, could well return against Vigo as the stubborn La Liga side stand in United’s way of reaching the Europa League final in Stockholm on May 24.
With United’s 28-goal top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic out for the season Mourinho’s mind will be on who can supply the goals to see them into the final with his side potentially three games away from sealing UEFA Champions League qualification via winning the Europa League. Marcus Rashford has stepped up in recent weeks and both Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney have played their parts.
We will find out more on the availability of United’s returning players when Mourinho talks to the media later on Wednesday.
The Portuguese has lambasted the fact that his side played nine games in April but with a two-legged Europa League semifinal coming up, plus the Red Devils just one point off the top four in the Premier League with four games to go, he may finally have a reason to be cheerful.
Well, as happy as the moody Mourinho of today can be, anyway…