United in Brussels
Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney will miss the match against Anderlecht due to an ankle injury, manager Jose Mourinho said on Wednesday.
The United and England captain and forward did not travel to Brussels for the game on Thursday (today). Rooney who has been consistently sidelined by both The Red Devils and The Three Lions managers for slack performance, lack of form and injuries will miss the Europa League quarter-final first leg. He has already sat out United’s last two matches.
“He is not happy with his condition,” Mourinho told reporters. He has bad feelings with his ankle and he’s not ready to play. Let’s see for the weekend, let’s see for next week. We don’t have many players and need everyone to try to be available.”
The Belgian club, Anderlecht, is a dangerous side according to Mourinho who said his side would have to be at their best against dangerous opponents.
“They are a good team and have a certain way of playing, adapted to the qualities of their players. They play well, press well and have talented players. I think we have to play at our best level.
United are woefully fifth in the Premier League table, one place outside the Champions League qualification spots, ahead of their match against leaders Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday.
United is currently lying 5th in the Premier League. United must either move up at least a place and finish in the top four, or win the Europa League in order to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Mourinho faces the risk of player burn-out with fixture congestion a major issue — if United wins the Europa League final (most likely, I hope!), they will play twice a week every week until the end of this footballing season.
And if the Premier League route closes, Mourinho said he would be prepared to rest his players in league matches to keep them fresh for their European engagements.
“We still have two open doors and my feeling is that we are really going to fight in both competitions. Honestly, I have a special feeling with the Europa League, it’s a competition we can win.” Mourinho said.
The Portuguese coach has told anybody who cares to listen, including me, that he prefers to win the Europa League than come even 4th in the Premier League . . .
Up Man U!