Champions League

Mourinho concedes lack of midfield options

2017-09-27 09:04
Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba.(Getty Images)

Cape Town - Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho concedes he is short on numbers in the middle of the park as they prepare to face CSKA Moscow in Russia on Wednesday.

The Red Devils jetted off to the Russian capital on Monday without midfield trio Paul Pogba, Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini, as well as defender Phil Jones.

Mourinho has just two recognised central midfielders at his disposal for the midweek UEFA Champions League Group A clash, in Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera, although Daley Blind can do the job in that position.

Fellaini was added to the injury list after taking a knock to his ankle in the 1-0 win over Southampton on Saturday, and the Portuguese coach must now attempt to come up with the right balance.

"I won't have Fellaini, I won't have Pogba, we won't have Carrick, so all three midfield players that we lose for this match," Mourinho said in his pre-match press conference.

"So there are not many solutions, but we try not to focus on individual battles or in specific areas on the pitch.

"We try to focus on the globality [team as a whole] and we are going to have a team with quality, with balance, to try to win the match which is our objective."

Mourinho admits Fellaini was fortunate to escape serious injury in the challenge from Saints forward Shane Long at the weekend, but reckons the Belgium international will be back sooner rather than later.

"It was only when I saw it on TV that I realised Fellaini was very lucky," he added.

"It could be a much worse situation but in a moment where we don't have Pogba and Carrick he becomes even more important than he always is.

"I do not expect Fellaini to be out for a long time. There is no pressure on him [in the international break] so hopefully he'll be back for us."

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Wednesday, 19 September 2018
Ajax v AEK Athens, Johan Cruijff ArenA 18:55
Shakhtar Donetsk v Hoffenheim, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 18:55
Viktoria Plzen v CSKA Moskva, Doosan Arena 21:00
Valencia v Juventus, Estadio de Mestalla 21:00
Benfica v Bayern Munchen, Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz) 21:00
Real Madrid v Roma, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu 21:00
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Olympique Lyonnais v Shakhtar Donetsk, Groupama OL Academy Decines-Charpieu 21:00
Manchester United v Valencia, Old Trafford 21:00
AEK Athens v Benfica, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 21:00
Roma v Viktoria Plzen, Stadio Olimpico 21:00
CSKA Moskva v Real Madrid, VEB Arena 21:00
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PSV v Internazionale, Philips Stadion 21:00
Borussia Dortmund v Monaco, Signal-Iduna-Park 21:00
Napoli v Liverpool, Stadio San Paolo 21:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Barcelona, Wembley Stadium 21:00
Tuesday, 23 October 2018
AEK Athens v Bayern Munchen, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 18:55
Young Boys v Valencia, STADE DE SUISSE Wankdorf Bern 18:55
Real Madrid v Viktoria Plzen, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu 21:00
Ajax v Benfica, Johan Cruijff ArenA 21:00
Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 21:00
Manchester United v Juventus, Old Trafford 21:00
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Hoffenheim v Olympique Lyonnais, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 21:00
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Lokomotiv Moskva v Porto, RZD Arena 21:00
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Galatasaray v Schalke 04, Turk Telekom Stadyumu 21:00
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Internazionale v Barcelona, Stadio Giuseppe Meazza 22:00
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Tottenham Hotspur v PSV, Wembley Stadium 22:00
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