Jose Mourinho has revealed Wayne Rooney has a chance of returning for Manchester United in Thursday’s Europa League clash with Anderlecht, but three other players are still out.
The club captain has missed the last four games with an ankle injury but could be named on the substitutes’ bench for the quarter-final second leg at Old Trafford.
“He’s working now, he’s improving and if in this training session [this afternoon] the answer is positive, I would select him to be on the bench tomorrow,” Mourinho told reporters at his pre-match press conference on Wednesday.
“He’s experienced, his know-how of this knockout phase – I think he’s a player that can be useful tomorrow. If we need a goal, he can help us. If we need to keep a result, to keep the ball, to keep control of the game by having possession, he can help us too. So, hopefully his answer in the training session is positive.”
The manager continued: “[There are] no injuries from the game [against Chelsea] but also nobody recovered so no Mata, Jones, Smalling. They are out and still out. And Wayne is the only one that is possible, if it’s possible.
“I cannot confirm now but the paparazzi that live in the Lowry Hotel, they can take the picture when we go to the hotel at six o’clock and see if Wayne is selected. I would like him to be selected, yes, I would like to have him as an option.”
Quizzed further on Rooney’s recovery from his recent injury, Mourinho said: “He has not had big problems during the season but he had a few small problems and when you get into a certain age, it’s a little bit more difficult to recover.
“I think it’s just that, but we have seven matches to play in the Premier League, plus one or three or four in the Europa League, so we can go to 10 or 11 matches. We don’t have many players: we lost players in the January market, we didn’t bring anyone in, we lost players in the international week. We need everyone that can [play] and Wayne can, so hopefully he can give us help.”