Manchester United Injury Report – Key Players Return Ahead Of Sunderland Clash

Mourinho

Manchester United continue to remain without some key players for the home match against Sunderland on Boxing Day. The club are hoping to extend their winning run in all competitions to 5 matches, while they are undefeated in the last 10 games of all competitions. After back-to-back home victories against London outfits Tottenham and West Ham, the team will finally be coming into a home game buzzing with confidence after having gone several months without a league win at Old Trafford. United appear to have found the right combination in terms of personnel and tactics.

However, the club continues to remain weakened by the absence of some key players. Ahead of the match, Jose Mourinho says that players like Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly are likely to be back for the first team selection in a major boost to the team. Smalling has been unavailable since the 4-0 loss against Chelsea several weeks ago. Bailly recently has been featuring on and off, while Mourinho will be looking to utilise the player to the maximum before he jets off to link up with Ivory Coast for the African Cup of Nations 2017.

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Smalling seems to have made sufficient recovery from the toe injury suffered in that game against Chelsea. However, the game against Sunderland may come a little too soon for a position in the starting line-up. Smalling is likely to feature on the bench with Mourinho more than happy with the centre-back pairing of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo.

Reported by the club’s website, Mourinho said;

“It’s good to have everyone available apart from Luke Shaw, who is not far [away],” Mourinho said in his press conference. “In the central defender position, we now have all of them.

“Chris Smalling is back, Eric Bailly is back, Phil Jones is fine, Marcos Rojo is fine, Daley Blind is fine, so it’s a position where it’s very important to have some stability in the options. We were in a difficult position a couple of months ago but now we are safe. We know that Bailly is going to the African Cup [of Nations] in January but, for the next three matches, we have them.”

All of the key fixtures on Boxing Day kick-off at the same time, but the biggest winners of the Monday night action could be Manchester United. The Red Devils are in action on Boxing Day while their main competitor for the top four place – Tottenham – will not be involved in action until a few days later when they take on Southampton away from home. Thus, the motivation to close the gap on Spurs, who are three points ahead in the table, will be immense within United.

They are up against a Sunderland team which has managed only four wins so far this season. Only one of those victories have come away from home and it was against newly promoted Bournemouth. As a result, this game is being billed as a definitive three-pointer for the home team. Anything less than a victory would be a disappointing outcome for United.

The game would not be a special occasion for manager David Moyes, but this will be his first return to Old Trafford since being sacked in April 2014.