Mourinho rules key Man Utd duo out of EFL Cup final

Date published: Wednesday 22nd February 2017 7:04

Henrikh Mkhitaryan: Injury doiubt

Jose Mourinho says Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Michael Carrick have “no chance” of being fit for the EFL Cup final on Sunday.

In-form Manchester United midfielder  Mkhitaryan was forced off with a hamstring injury after just 25 minutes of United’s 1-0 win over St Etienne in the Europa League on Wednesday night.

Fellew midfielder Carrick went off after half-time with a calf injury with both players now set for scans on Thursday, but with the cup final at Wembley just days away Mourinho was not hopeful.

He BT Sport: “You can be injured leaving your house, you can be injured in the garden. You never know when and why.”It is the result of so many matches. When somebody is missing, it’s an opportunity for another one.

“Obviously, they are important players for us and not to have them for the final is complicated. But I think Marouane (Fellaini) and Bastian (Schweinsteiger), who have not played so much, did a good answer. When one is not playing it is an opportunity for another.

“I don’t say (they are definitely out). I just say what I feel. It’s three days. With a hamstring and a calf, even if it is a minor injury, I probably think that three days is no time.

“I think no chance.”

Mkhitaryan had flicked in Juan Mata’s cross for the opening goal on 16 minutes on Wednesday night, but just nine minutes later he limped off after stretching for another Mata pass.

The Armenian was selected in a strong XI put out by Jose Mourinho in France, but the 27-year-old is now likely to sit out the Wembley showpiece.

Marcus Rashford replaced him, but losing Mkhitarayan will be a hammer blow to Mourinho considering his recent form. The former Dortmund man has scored six and assisted five goals in his last 16 games.

United had a three-goal lead going into the clash, which they won 1-0 on the night, and Mourinho was expected to make changes and rest some of his first-teamers.

Juan Mata admits confidence is high in the United camp ahead of the Wembley date with Saints and said: “We knew it was going to be a tough atmosphere, their supporters are great.

“But from the first minute I think we were very professional and scored one goal which made it easier for us and we’re very happy because it’s not just about qualifying but about winning and keeping us in a good stride and going into the final on Sunday with confidence.

“It was the best way to face a final – qualifying, winning and going into the final with confidence.”

Defender Chris Smalling felt the atmosphere in the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard worked in the visitors’ favour.

“I think their crowd helped us to be fair, they made sure that we didn’t go through the motions and it was a proper game and I think we did a good job from start to finish,” Smalling said.

“If we can keep this run going, who knows what can happen?”

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