Manchester United’s bid for Champions League qualification and Europa League success were dealt with a huge blow on Thursday night. Jose Mourinho, United manager fears that injuries to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo could end their season.
The 35-year-old Ibrahimovic landed awkwardly and locked his right knee when he jumped for a header in stoppage time. The Swede, who missed two glaring chances on the night, had one of his worst performances in a United shirt.
Ibrahimovic and Rojo miss could be massive for United
Ibrahimovic did not need a stretcher to get off the field. The former Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) striker was able to gingerly walk off the pitch. However, reports after United’s 2-1 win against Anderlecht in the Europa League quarter-final second-leg match suggests that the former Sweden international could suffer ligament damage, according to Telegraph.
Ibrahimovic, who has scored 28 goals for United this season in all competitions is yet to extend on his one-year contract with the club. The 35-year-old arrived at Old Trafford from PSG as a free transfer last summer.
Meanwhile, Rojo was substituted in the first half after he tried to play on with an injury to his left leg before compounding the problem as he came across to challenge Frank Acheampong in the 22nd minute. The Argentina international’s injury means he joins fellow defenders Chris Smalling and Phil Jones on United’s injury list.
“I don’t think they are easy injuries, but I prefer to wait for all the tests to be done tomorrow. I want to wait,” Mourinho said in his post-match press conference, as reported by ESPN.
“My feeling is not great for both. I want to be optimistic, but I’m not. I can’t say any more than that, I am not a doctor.”
Daley Blind replaced Rojo for the remainder of the game against Anderlecht. The Dutchman will reportedly keep his place alongside Bailly for United’s Premier League trip to Burnley on Sunday.
Mourinho asks Jones and Smalling to be brave
Chris Smalling suffered a knee injury on England duty while Phil Jones also suffered a foot problem in training before England’s friendly against Germany in Dusseldorf last month. Both the Englishmen are still recovering from their respective niggles and the date of their return is unknown.
However, Mourinho wants each of the players to be brave. The former Chelsea and Real Madrid gaffer wants both Smalling and Jones to do everything for the team.
“They have to be brave now. If it was me, it [returning from injury] would be tomorrow.It is time for Jones and Smalling to be brave, to risk, because for the team we have to do everything. That is the way we think,” Mourinho stated, as reported by BBC.
“We cannot do miracles. Miracles I don’t expect. They cannot do miracles but with a special spirit, instead of coming back mid-May you can come back at the beginning of May. They could accelerate the process”
Manchester United will learn their semifinal opponent in Friday’s Europa League draw, with Celta Vigo, Lyon and Ajax joining the Premier League outfit in the pot.
Photo courtesy: domfellowes/Flickr and Светлана Бекетова/soccer.ru