Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed that midfielder Marouane Fellaini is back fit again and could be included in the squad which is all set to face Liverpool at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Speaking ahead of the game in his pre-match press conference, the gaffer said that Fellaini ‘is back to the team’ and also confirmed that defender Eric Bailly is fully fit again. Like Bailly, midfielder Marouane Fellaini’s season has been hampered by series of injuries and his last appearance came as a substitute in United’s 2-0 defeat against Tottenham at Wembley on January 31.
Eric Bailly, on the other hand, started off his new season in absolute style before eventually sustaining a knee injury, back in November. The former Villarreal man went on to miss 16 consecutive Premier League games and has only made two substitute appearances since returning from the layoff.
“Yeah, he [Bailly] was fully fit for a couple of weeks. Yeah, but he’s okay. The only one that is back to the team is Fellaini,” the boss told the official club website.
While speaking further about injuries, Mourinho said that it is ‘basically the same squad’ which faced Crystal Palace this week. That means Anthony Martial will be unavailable for selection as the Frenchman missed the game at Selhurst Park through injury.
Furthermore, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ander Herrera and Daley Blind will remain sidelined for the fixture as well.
“It’s basically the same [squad],” he said. “The people injured are recovering step by step and a few of them are very, very close to a return – but not yet. We are fine, we have a squad ready for everything. The number we choose – 23 – was to protect them and we are coping with that.”
Saturday’s meeting with Liverpool will be Manchester United’s 200th encounter against the Merseysiders and it is safe to say almost every single spectator is eagerly waiting for the game to get kicked off.
Mourinho, on his part, stated that it will be a regular fixture for him mainly because he is ‘not very good with the culture.’
“In my mentality, every match is the same,” he told his press conference. “I’m not very good on that culture – ‘this rivalry is special, that match is special’. I’ve never been very good at it. I never look to AC Milan has the biggest rival, I never look at Atletico [Madrid] as the enemy, I never look to Spurs or Arsenal as the big rival, I’ve never been any good on it.
“For me it is just a big match, two historical clubs, not just in England, but in the world. In this moment, [there are] important points for the top four, important points for second position, which is better than third or fourth place. I still don’t look to some matches as special opponents. It’s just a big match, because we are speaking about two big clubs.”
Facing Liverpool is always a high-octane matter and there’s absolutely no room for anything other than a win. It’s important that we hand them a big knock tomorrow.