Jose Mourinho has emphasised it will be “very difficult” for Bastian Schweinsteiger to play for Manchester United this season – and had a dig back at Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
Schweinsteiger has been frozen out of the first-team picture at United this term, with boss Mourinho making it clear he is not part of his plans.
Earlier this week the 32-year-old former Germany midfielder said he would not be joining another club in Europe and added of his current employers: “I will be ready, if the team needs me.”
But when asked on Friday if there was any chance Schweinsteiger could play for United at all this term, Mourinho said: “I think it’s very difficult to happen.
“I’m not saying it’s impossible. I’m saying it’s very difficult.
“We have a decision completely made about (Paul) Pogba, (Ander) Herrera, (Morgan) Schneiderlin, (Marouane) Fellaini and Michael Carrick (Schweinsteiger’s fellow central midfielders).
“We have five players for two positions. It’s very difficult that an opportunity will arrive.”
After reports emerged of ex-Bayern man Schweinsteiger, a World Cup winner with Germany, being made to train with United’s reserves by his new manager Mourinho, chairman Rummenigge was quoted earlier this month as saying he could “hardly believe” such treatment, labelling it “a lack of respect for a worthy player”.
And Mourinho said on Friday: “I thought after I read some quotes from people at Bayern Munich that they would run to Manchester to bring him (Schweinsteiger) back, but no, that did not happen.
“I am quite surprised that Mr Rummenigge is not here now to take him back.”
Schweinsteiger has two years left on his United contract, and in terms of the prospect of him staying on at United despite not playing, Mourinho said: “I cannot answer for him. It’s his life. It’s his career.
“He has a contract with Man United and has the right to make that decision to stay.
“That’s not a problem for us. Football is made of decisions. I did that all my career. Not just me, everyone does. Some players react in a different way and have other kind of decisions.
“Bastian is not speaking a lot. He gave this last statement, which he is completely free to do in an objective and polite way like he did. There are no problems at all.”