Paul Pogba’s absence for a “few matches” will be keenly felt by Manchester United but manager Jose Mourinho is hoping other players will step up to replace the France international.
Pogba suffered a hamstring injury during Tuesday’s Champions League win over Basel at Old Trafford and, while he does not yet know the severity of the problem, Mourinho says the former Juventus midfielder will be a big loss for his table-topping side.
Ahead of Sunday’s game with struggling Everton, the United boss told reporters: “We have players waiting for an opportunity and because we have started the season really well with one match per week, [there was] no need for resting, changes, we were going with the same players.
“But there are good players more than ready to play so honestly we miss Pogba, we need Pogba but we have good players.
“[Ander] Herrera, [Marouane] Fellaini, [Michael] Carrick are waiting for a real chance to start the matches and they are ready so this is also our way of thinking.
“We lost important players last season during crucial moments of the season and we were not crying or getting excuses about that.”
“We have good players more than ready to play,” says Jose. “They are waiting for a chance to start matches.” #MUFC
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 15, 2017
Asked to expand on Pogba’s injury, he added: “I just know that it’s a muscular injury, he’s out for the weekend match, that’s the only match I’m thinking about, I don’t think any further than that.
“He’s not playing this weekend. I just know it’s a hamstring problem.
“Squads are to try to cope with these kind of situations and we know that in a few situations, I don’t know how many, but we are going to play without Pogba for a few matches but we have other players.”
England left-back Luke Shaw is fit and available but Marcos Rojo will be sidelined for another couple of months as he continues to recover from cruciate ligament damage suffered in April.
Mourinho said: “Luke Shaw is not injured anymore so is a question of form, is a question of options but he is not injured, he’s recovered.
“Marcos Rojo is still in the timings of such an important injury, everything went really well, but is not training in a normal session, just parts of it, so he probably has a couple of months.”
Everton arrive on a five-game winless run and having suffered a 3-0 thrashing at Atalanta in the Europa League on Thursday, but Mourinho remains wary of the quality in Ronald Koeman’s squad.
“I’m not going to analyse in that perspective,” he said.
“They are a team with incredible investment, a team that wants to play for the title, so I’m sure their objective is the top four. [They have] lots of good players, a good team, [it will be] a very difficult match for us.”
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