Man United boss Jose Mourinho isn’t happy at all ahead of our trip to Old Trafford on Saturday, having revealed that first-choice centre-back Phil Jones will sit-out of this weekend’s game after aggravating a thigh injury on international duty with England.
It looked like Man United would be boosted on the injury front this week, however this news on Jones and reports that Paul Pogba will NOT be ready to make his return on Saturday will have been music to the ears of Rafa Benitez and NUFC.
Jones started in England’s 0-0 draw with Germany last Friday, but was forced off early after doing more damage to his existing thigh problem – and Mourinho is furious that Southgate played him despite being aware of his niggling injury:
“I don’t think it is possible for a player with a problem to play in a friendly.
“Of course, Phil Jones had a problem. He was having a problem for three weeks, he’s having problems that are stopping him to play for his club and then he plays for his club in extreme conditions [in their final match before the internationals] because it’s a big match against Chelsea.
“And then he goes to the national team and he comes home with an ongoing injury that everyone knows is an ongoing injury.
“You have always some clubs where their players, they have always have something.
“It could be a fingernail, he has a little flu, he has a problem with the little toe, and they withdraw, and they stay with their clubs and they have their holidays and they have their rest.
“Then, there are always the clubs where the mangers are naive (holding up his hand to say ‘me’), too pure and they say you have to go and they go and sometimes they pay the price and they pay the price.
“I want to see this next weekend if the players that were not going to the national team, I want to see if they are going to play. Drinkwater? Delph? The only one that is not playing is Phil Jones.”
Whilst Mourinho will have more than able replacements in reserve, he’s clearly not happy and it’s easy to see why, with Jones’ influence at the back being surprisingly big for them this season.
In the 9 league games Phil Jones has played the full 90 in this season, Man Utd have had 8 clean sheets, conceding just twice – with those two coming away at Stoke, meaning they’ve never conceded so far this season while he’s been on the pitch at Old Trafford.
I’m clutching at straws, but in a game where we’ll need every bit of luck we can get, it’s a bonus to hear he and Pogba won’t be playing on Saturday.