Jose Mourinho confirmed during his pre-match press conference that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will start against Zorya Luhansk on Thursday. United take on Zorya at Old Trafford in the Europa League, and having lost their opening Europa League match to Feyernood last week, Mourinho is determined to avoid a repeat, stating that he will change his approach to the game with more key payers involved.
“To be honest, I think we have to win. If we don’t win, we have four matches and I would say we have to win all the last four matches which is difficult, so I think tomorrow it’s very important that we win the game”, he said.
The United boss however revealed that play-maker Henrikh Mkhitaryan and left back Luke Shaw would be unavailable for selection. Henrikh is still not ready for action after picking up an injury while on international duty for Armenia, while Luke has fallen ill with a “temperature, fever, and bad throat,” as quoted on the Official Man Utd website.
A question mark still hovers over Wayne Rooney’s selection after Jose said he had been suffering with a back injury. He has been selected as part of the squad, but Jose is undecided on whether he will start.
“He didn’t train yesterday, he did just a little bit of the session on Monday. He had a back problem so today was the first time that he had a training has session with the other players.”
Rooney was dropped for the Premier League encounter with Leicester City after widespread criticism on his recent performances, with Juan Mata taking his spot in that game. Mata impressed with a great performance, scoring one goal and assisting another and Jose is convinced that he is part of his plans for his United project. He explained that Juan Mata is better suited to the type of football he envisages his United team playing, as opposed to the football he set out his Chelsea team to play in the past.
“I think Juan at my project at Chelsea was a good player, and in my project at Man United he is a very good player.” He went on to say that he believes that Juan “found a very good natural habitat to his football”.
Anthony Martial is also available for selection after recovering from the contusion he suffered against Leicester and may start on Thursday, but one player who is confirmed to start is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. With the International break looming, Mourinho intends to give Zlatan playing time against Zorya, as well as Stoke on the weekend as he will not be travelling with the Swedish international squad.
“Zlatan is one of the players that will have plenty of time to recover, so no problem for him to play these two matches.”