Manchester United’s yearly dose of injury pile ups is upon us once again, with seven first team members on the sidelines as United prepare for their first visit to the Kirklees Stadium to play David Wagner’s freshly promoted Huddersfield Town outfit who got off to a hot start in the Premier League but have cooled off significantly since.
Marcos Rashford is the latest to be stricken with injury, having scored the winner in their Champions League group stage game at Benfica on Wednesday night.
The forward limped off with a knee injury, and Jose Mourinho admitted after the game that he does not know how serious the injury might be.
“With Rashford, I thought it was cramp because he was running so much – I thought it was muscular fatigue,” Mourinho said after the game.
“But no, he told me he felt something in his knee. It didn’t look to me like a big thing but we don’t know.
Rashford joins Marouane Fellaini, Eric Bailly, Michael Carrick, Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo on the sidelines, all key players to Jose Mourinho whose absences will test Manchester United’s squad depth to the limit.
The boss himself has defended claims about United’s style of play in recent games, saying that the only reason his side gets bad press over their cautious tactics is because he does not boast about his injury concerns like other managers.
United are unbeaten so far this season and sit two points off league leaders Manchester City, as well as being almost out of sight in their Champions League group. They started the campaign by dispatching of the opposition with ease, yet there is a slight feeling of negativity surrounding the Red Devils when it comes to their defensive style in their most recent fixtures.
But speaking after the Champions League game with Benfica, Mourinho admitted he does not understand why there is so much negative press surrounding his side, and says he feels as if defending properly is seen as a crime. The Portuguese also touched upon how he does not ‘cry’ over United’s injuries, unlike opposition managers.
“Not that I read it a lot, but sometimes when I read the press – not only English but Portuguese – I feel that sometimes defending properly it is seen as a crime,” Mourinho said. “But it is not.
“That’s why we controlled the game because we defended properly.”
“You know, with other managers, with other players, I’m pretty sure that yes (they get an easier ride) but that’s not the problem for us.”
“And there is another situation, maybe I’m guilty of it: I never speak about injuries.”
“Other managers, they cry, they cry, they cry when some player is injured. I don’t cry.”
“I think the way to do it is to ignore the players that are injured, is to focus on the players that are available. It is to give confidence to the players that are available.”
“But if I want to moan and cry like the others, I can cry for the next five minutes.”
“(Zlatan) Ibrahimovc, (Paul) Pogba, (Marouane) Fellaini, Marcos Rojo – I can cry but I don’t, so we do it with what we have.”
“You know, we went to Liverpool with two midfield players and nothing else, not even on the bench.”
“Today it happened the same. We brought a kid, like Benfica does, because I don’t have another solution.”
“I brought Scott McTominay who is the same age as Benfica’s kids, but the Premier League is a different story. It’s really hard.”
“But, again, you know, 12 matches, 10 victories, two draws, nine clean sheets. We are not bad.”
[Quotes via Sky Sports]