Mourinho not risking Zlatan ahead of City clash

Manchester United’s Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic reacts during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Everton at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on April 4, 2017. Oli SCARFF / AFP

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says he will not risk Zlatan Ibrahimovic in their Champions League match against CSKA Moscow as he keeps one eye on the derby with Manchester City on Sunday.

Ibrahimovic recently returned from a long-term knee injury but Mourinho confirmed that the experienced Swedish striker will miss the game against the Russian side at Old Trafford.

United require only a point from the match to be sure of qualifying for the knockout stage of the European Cup as winners of Group A.

However, they are eight points behind table-topping City in the Premier League table so Mourinho will not take any chances with Ibrahimovic.

“Zlatan is not injured,” Mourinho said in his pre-match press conference on Monday. “Zlatan needs some time of very hard work on the muscular area that supports the knee that had the problem.

“When the time for that hard work comes the fatigue comes. To work really hard for a certain period of time, he cannot play these days.

“We decided to do that after Watford. He is on his cycle of work divided between the gym and the pitch. He will be out again for tomorrow, but I believe he will be back to normal work after CSKA.”

Mourinho also revealed he will give left-back Luke Shaw the chance to reignite his career in Tuesday’s match.

The left-back has been a peripheral figure at Old Trafford this season having managed a total of 48 minutes as a substitute over two appearances in the League Cup against Burton and Swansea.

Shaw has been linked with a January move away from the Red Devils with Newcastle United and former club Southampton both reported to be interested.

But Jose Mourinho said the 22-year-old has impressed with his attitude in training and deserves a chance.

“When we speak about Luke Shaw you are right,” Mourinho said. “He’s working to have an opportunity and sooner or later that opportunity will arrive because he deserves that opportunity.

“Selected for Tuesday, yes for sure. To start or be on the bench. I cannot answer.

“I am going to make a few, but not too many, changes. We didn’t qualify yet, we didn’t finish first in the group yet, there are other clubs also involved in qualification and I need to keep a certain balance in the team.”

United are still without defender Eric Bailly and midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who both have knocks, while centre-back Phil Jones (calf) is also out.

French midfielder Paul Pogba is suspended for the derby with City after he was sent off in United’s 3-1 win over Arsenal last weekend and will play against CSKA.

“He’s happy to play tomorrow,” said Mourinho said. “It’s the next match, the match that matters. He plays tomorrow.”

“He’s very happy to play tomorrow and try to keep his momentum,” he added. “Since he was back from injury he’s been phenomenal.”



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