Mourinho Has Given A New Role To Rooney In Ibrahimovic’s Absence
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Mourinho Has Given A New Role To Rooney In Ibrahimovic’s Absence

  • The burden of such a congested fixture list appears to have finally taken its toll on Manchester United.

    Jose Mourinho’s options at a critical point of the season were further depleted on Thursday night after Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic both picked up serious-looking injuries against Anderlecht.

    Defensively, the Red Devils are particularly threadbare, with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones also out of action.

    But things aren’t much easier for Mourinho at the other end of the pitch either.

    Marcus Rashford has deputised well in Zlatan’s absence over the last seven days but expecting the 19-year-old to lead the line in every game between now and the end of the season might be a stretch too far.

    Therefore the Man United boss has reopened the door for Wayne Rooney to come back into the fold after becoming a spectator at Old Trafford in recent weeks.

    Rooney himself has only just returned to fitness after an ankle injury but Mourinho preferred to bring Anthony Martial on to replace Ibrahimovic against Anderlecht.

    And Mourinho insists the club captain will still have a role to play in United’s various cup and league exploits this campaign.

    “He has a good mentality, he is a fighter,” Mourinho said, as per ESPN.

    “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.”

    In the meantime, the draw for the semi-finals of the Europa League was made on Friday and Mourinho’s men will take on Celta Vigo for a spot in the final.

    But with their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League through the Premier League still possible, they cannot afford to take their foot off the gas in either competition.

    United face Burnley on Sunday before a critical Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium next Thursday.

    Burnley are struggling in a recent couple of months. Just one win in their last eleven games in all competitions are the reason for alarm in Burnley. Although they are eight points ahead of Swansea and relegation zone, they are seeking to finish the season as high as they can and to avoid possible problems in the finish of the season.

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