Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho said last night, following a pitiful display in a 1-0 loss at Brighton, how the dismal showing answers all the questions he receives about why Romelu Lukaku almost always gets selected ahead of other candidates in the attack. You saw what final third looked like with Lukaku out injured, due to an ankle problem.
Another big money attacking player, Alexis Sanchez, was also out of commission due to injury, and the Red Devils (who were dreadful all around) really did nothing in the final third. Mourinho does seem hopeful however that he will have the pair back in first team contention for the FA Cup final versus Chelsea May 19 at Wembley Stadium.
They will be needed, as they were sorely missed last night.
“I hope they can play in the final. We have two matches and need four points,” Mourinho said to BBC Sport on Friday. United have two Premier League contests remaining between now and then, against Watford and West Ham United.
Lukaku was ruled out of the Brighton contest prior to the squad’s traveling to the match, but Sanchez was a last minute scratch, which surprised some. The Chilean also did not make the trip.
“Alexis and Lukaku have injuries, so they weren’t an option, but we believe in these players. We believe they deserve a chance to play, Mourinho said at his pre- Brighton press conference.
“They are fresher than others that played so many matches in the season, to play against a team that is strong at home and intense.”
Lukaku was injured in the win versus Arsenal last weekend, and Mourinho was unable to give a specific time table on the Belgian’s return, but retained a very optimistic outlook.
“I don’t know, I just know that of course not tomorrow, (against Brighton) apart from that we need to wait for more scans, more time. Hope so (that he will be fit for the final). It looks positive.”
According to NBC Sports, United’s leading scorer, who has already eclipsed his personal best in single season goals scored this season, is spending his time rehabilitating at Move to Cure in Antwerp, a facility once also reportedly used by Marouane Fellaini, a teammate for both club and country.
The FA Cup, just a fortnight from now, presents the last opportunity for both United and Chelsea to obtain their first trophy this season. They’ll take on West Ham Thursday night before hosting Watford on Sunday.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.
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