Manchester City vs. Manchester United: Ander Herrera fitness concerns ahead of derby

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PHOTOGRAPH: Ardfern | Photo courtesy: Ardfern/Wikimedia

Manchester United will monitor the fitness of midfielder Ander Herrera ahead of the Manchester derby on Thursday. The Spaniard picked up a knock during United’s 2-0 win over Burnley at Turf Moor on Sunday.

Herrera played 90 minutes against The Clarets and dominated proceedings all afternoon. However, he was left hobbling by the end of the game after taking a heavy knock on his ankle.

The midfielder is set to be assessed on Monday. United are hopeful he will be able to shake off the problem in time to face Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday, according to ESPN.

The Manchester derby is extremely crucial for Mourinho’s men. A win will see the Red Devils leapfrog Pep Guardiola’s City in the race for a top four finish.

Injury crisis for United ahead of Manchester derby

Mourinho is facing a huge injury crisis ahead of United’s tie against City. The Red Devils are without Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, both of whom were injured in the Europa League tie against Anderlecht. The Portuguese gaffer won’t like to see another key player missing ahead of an important fixture.

Juan Mata is another long-term absentee with a groin problem. Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are doubts after missing the last seven games with knee and toe problems, respectively. However, Mourinho has urged the pair to play to ease the burden on Eric Bailly and Daley Blind, his only two fit senior center-backs.

“If I was Smalling or Jones, I would play Thursday, with anything, I would. If they have a crazy mentality like I have, they would [play on Thursday],” Mourinho said.

Paul Pogba a doubt against City

Meanwhile, United are also sweating over the fitness of superstar midfielder Paul Pogba. The Frenchman was forced off in the final minute at Turf Moor and Mourinho mentioned afterwards that he is unsure whether the midfielder will be ready to face City.

“I don’t know. Dead he is for sure. If he’s injured or if it’s just the super accumulation of fatigue in the muscles, I don’t know,” Mourinho stressed.

“But as I was saying, if he cannot play Thursday he cannot play Thursday. We play another one and we don’t cry, like we didn’t today.”

A win against Guardiola’s men will see United gain a two point advantage over their city rivals. A fourth Premier League win in a row would also see United join third-placed Liverpool on 66 points, with five games remaining.

Jurgen Klopp’s side, who lost to Crystal Palace at Anfield on Sunday, do not play again until Monday when they visit Watford.

Photo courtesy: Ardfern/Wikimedia

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