Inside training: Mourinho assesses his options
The clock is ticking down to Tuesday evening's UEFA Champions League Group H match against Young Boys and, in preparation, Jose Mourinho's Manchester United squad have trained in front of the European football media at the Aon Training Complex.
Of course, for obvious reasons, tactical work is at a premium and cards are kept close to the chest. That is only natural ahead of a tie in which United can secure qualification to the Champions League knockout stages with a victory, as long as Valencia do not beat Juventus elsewhere in Group H.
The Reds are currently second in the pool with seven points from 12, after securing a brilliant 2-1 win over Italian champions Juve in Turin last time out. Young Boys, meanwhile, are bottom with only one point and they must win at Old Trafford to maintain any hope of finishing third.
See who was pictured in our latest training session in the gallery below…
All eyes on training Gallery
See which players have been photographed before the Young Boys match.
Victor Lindelof was not among those who were captured by photographers, which is not too surprising after the Swede finished the Premier League draw against Crystal Palace with an injury.
Mourinho confirmed the knock after the final whistle and praised the defender’s gallant performance, telling us:
“He was a brave guy - probably punishing himself - but a fantastic example.”
Matteo Darmian was also not pictured in the session, despite playing a full match at right-back in the goalless draw against the Eagles on Saturday. Marcos Rojo was also not photographed at training, which suggests he is unlikely to make his first appearance of the season on Tuesday night.
Progress to the last-16 will be secured with a victory against Young Boys, as long as Valencia do not beat Juventus in the other Group H tie. Juan Mata understands how important that opportunity is, with a difficult match away to his former club Valencia looming large on matchday six.
“Still feeling bitter from the draw against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford, we’re already focused on our game against Young Boys,”he writes in his latest blog.
“Obviously I would have liked to have been able to say something else, believe me, but the only way to get over the disappointment is to keep moving forward and in our case our next chance to do so is in a matter of hours. Tomorrow we have a key game for moving towards our objective of progressing in the Champions League.”
YOUNG BOYS WILL GIVE EVERYTHING
Anthony Martial scored in the 3-0 away win at Young Boys back in September and he looked happy during the training session, smiling for our photographers.
While he expects a challenging game against the Swiss Side at Old Trafford - particularly as this will be their first visit to our stadium - he remains confident the team will get the job done.
“Without a doubt it won’t be an easy game,” Anthony explains in his interview with United Review, the club's official matchday programme.
“It's quite the opposite. They will give everything they have but really it’s up to us to be fully focused on the game as we have qualification at the end of this as our target. So it’s up to us to go out to win this game and, at the same time, hope for Juve to provide the right scoreline for us!”