Jose Mourinho has confirmed he is waiting on the fitness of several players ahead of Manchester United's Premier League match against Fulham on Saturday.
The Reds were boosted when defenders Eric Bailly, Matteo Darmian, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo returned from the treatment room to play in Wednesday’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal, but Anthony Martial came off in the second period with an apparent problem.
Phil Jones and Luke Shaw missed the midweek home game against the Gunners due to problems sustained at Southampton last weekend.
Speaking to MUTV’s Mark Sullivan before his pre-match press conference at the Aon Training Complex on Friday morning, the boss admitted he will be faced with another difficult team selection for the visit of the Cottagers.
“[We are] still waiting for conclusions, still waiting for people like Martial, Smalling, Jones – people with these kind of doubts,
“ said Jose. ”But there is a good spirit and people are putting themselves on the line like Chris did in the last match and Jones did against Southampton. That’s important when we have so many matches and problems with some players.”
Ashley Young is back in contention after missing the Arsenal match to serve a one-match ban for accumulating five yellow cards in the league. However, as the boss has mentioned previously, the Reds are still expected to be without the injured Victor Lindelof and Alexis Sanchez.
PRESS CONFERENCE UPDATE
Following his MUTV interview, Mourinho briefed the wider football media at the Aon Training Complex and told them:
“The training session at 11am will give us some answers on Smalling, Jones, Martial and Bailly.
“Of course, Lindelof and Alexis, we don't even speak about them, but we need answers and for sure we are going to play with players not at the maximum of their potential, but players that will make themselves available like Smalling and Jones did. Players with some difficulty will make one step forward to try to help the team.”
HOW ARE FULHAM SHAPING UP?
Fulham boss Claudio Ranieri, who complimented his ‘friend’ Jose Mourinho in his pre-match press conference, reported a clean bill of health on Thursday.
Dutch defender Tim Fosu-Mensah, who is currently on loan at Craven Cottage from the Reds, is ineligible to face his parent club as per Premier League rules.
On-loan Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio Rico, who played against United at Old Trafford in the Champions League last season, could make a seventh successive start since earning the number one jersey from Marcus Bettinelli.
English defender Calum Chambers, who is on loan from Arsenal, has played the last three matches in a midfield role in the absence of Scotland international Kevin McDonald.
Serbian striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has seven league goals this season and has netted once in three previous games against United for Newcastle – in a 3-3 draw in 2016.