Jose Mourinho has the mother of all striking headaches that could force him into playing Marouane Fellaini up front against Chelsea.
Mourinho is without no fewer than four of his first choice forwards with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial all missing for Manchester United‘s trip to Stamford Bridge.
Ibrahimovic’s three-match ban for elbowing Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings kicks in this evening while captain Rooney was injured in a collision with Phil Jones in training.
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Frenchman Martial is also injured while Rashford, seemingly the most likely to deputise for top scorer Ibrahimovic over the next three games, was taken ill and didn’t travel with the rest of the squad to London on Sunday night.
That leaves midfielder Fellaini as Mourinho’s most likely option in a hammer blow to United’s pre-match preparations.
Meanwhile, the ex-Chelsea boss bemoaned his former club’s lack of European football this season and the advantages that affords them and manager Antonio Conte.
“The most difficult thing is to have time to work and they have time to work,” he said. “I know he (Conte) said a couple of days ago or a couple of weeks ago that it is not his fault they are not in European competitions.
“It is my fault and the Chelsea players’ fault but the reality is that he got his hands on a situation where they have time to work, time to rest, time to relax, time to disconnect, time to travel, time to have holidays, time to go to America and enjoy America for a couple of days.
“They have time for all these things so they are in a position of privilege, the same privilege Liverpool had a couple of years ago when they almost won the Premier League.
“I don’t want to say that Chelsea don’t deserve credit for it. They choose a certain style of play that I think is very well adapted to the qualities of their players. They defend a lot and they defend well. They counter attack and kill opponents on the counter attack in a similar way to my Chelsea.
“The difference is that they play five at the back and I played four at the back but with the same criteria – a very strong defensive team that kills on the counter-attack. They are doing it very, very well and that is why they are going to be champions easily.”