MANCHESTER United boss Jose Mourinho receives welcome boost as injured Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Eric Bailly and Paul Pogba train ahead of Europa League trip to face Celta Vigo
Jose Mourinho has received a timely boost ahead of Manchester United’s UEFA Europa League semi-final with Celta Vigo as injured quartet Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Eric Bailly and Paul Pogba all trained on Wednesday morning.
The United squad trained at their AON Complex at Carrington before flying out to Galicia for Thursday night’s match and it appears some of Mourinho’s injury worries may have eased.
He has spoken repeatedly about the pressure an intense fixture schedule both in the Premier League and the Europa League has exerted on his squad, with United seemingly hobbling towards the season’s finish line.
Smalling and Jones picked up knee and toe injuries respectively while on England duty in March and haven’t featured since, while fellow defender Bailly was forced off during Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Swansea City at Old Trafford.
Pogba has missed United’s last two Premier League outings with a muscle injury but is set to return for the match with Celta, alongside fellow midfielder Juan Mata.
United will be without defenders Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw, and prolific striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, for the remainder of the season.
But the news that Smalling, Jones and Bailly are at least fit enough to train – and Pogba is fit enough to play – will come as positive news for Mourinho.
United, who missed the opportunity to move into the top four when held by Swansea on Sunday, are hoping to use the Europa League as their route into next season’s Champions League.
They will look to build a first-leg advantage in Vigo against a club they have never faced before, and make it through to the final in Stockholm on May 24, where either Ajax or Lyon await.
United sit just a point behind fourth-placed Manchester City in the Premier League table, but face some challenging fixtures in their run-in, including visits to Arsenal and Tottenham.
A trip to Southampton on May 17 and a home fixture against Crystal Palace on May 21 round off their league campaign, where United are unbeaten in 25 matches dating back to October.
Man United fixtures
Premier League unless stated
Thursday Celta Vigo (A)
Europa League semi-final, first leg
Sunday Arsenal (A)
May 11 Celta Vigo (H)
Europa League semi-final, second leg
May 14 Tottenham Hotspur (A)
May 17 Southampton (A)
May 21 Crystal Palace (H)