Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Romelu Lukaku will miss Friday night’s Premier League clash with Brighton, but he is hopeful the striker will be fit for the Emirates FA Cup final later this month.
The Reds’ 27-goal top scorer limped off early in the second half during the 2-1 win over Arsenal at Old Trafford last Sunday.
Lukaku has only missed two games so far this season – the 4-1 Carabao Cup win over Burton Albion in September, in which he was an unused substitute, and the 2-0 victory at his former club Everton on New Year’s Day, which he missed with a head injury sustained in the previous game against Southampton.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the game at the Amex Stadium, the boss was asked about the Belgian’s condition.
“I don’t know,” he said.
“I just know that, of course, [he is] not [available] tomorrow. Apart from that, we need to wait for more scans, more time, but not [available] tomorrow.”
The Reds face another of Lukaku’s old teams, Chelsea, in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday 19 May. When asked if the no.9 has a chance of playing in the showpiece, Mourinho added:
“I hope so. It looks positive, yeah.”
The latest injury update on LukakuVideo
The manager also confirmed that Eric Bailly is fit to face Brighton, but said the Ivorian faces stiff competition for a starting place in defence, given the other centre-back options available.
“Bailly is fine, no injury,” he said.
“He is one of our five central defenders. My work is not about preparing players for World Cups. His [Bailly’s] country is not in the World Cup [this summer]. His country is not in the World Cup. But [Phil] Jones, [Chris] Smalling, [Marcos] Rojo, [Victor] Lindelof are all hoping to be there.”
Goalkeeper Sergio Romero has also missed the last six games for the Reds with a knee injury sustained on international duty with Argentina in March.
HOW ARE BRIGHTON SHAPING UP?
The Seagulls have Davy Propper available after a three-match ban, following his red card against Huddersfield last month. But boss Chris Hughton has a tough choice whether to immediately recall the Dutch midfielder or keep faith with Beram Kayal, who has performed well in Propper’s absence.
Other than the continued absence of long-term injury victims Steve Sidwell and Isaiah Brown, the hosts have no fresh concerns to contend with ahead of Friday’s game.