Quarterfinal win over Anderlecht leaves Ibrahimovic, Rojo hobbling
MANCHESTER, England — Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho said he was preparing for bad news after losing Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo to injury during Thursday’s 2-1 extra-time Europa League quarterfinal win over Anderlecht.
“I want to wait, but my feeling is not good for both,” Mourinho said after the win at Old Trafford that completed a 3-2 aggregate victory.
The scrappy, sapping victory keeps United on course to claim the only major trophy missing from the club’s collection.
“I want to wait and I want to try to be optimistic, but I’m not,” the manager said.
Centerback Rojo was stretchered off with a leg injury in the first half, while Ibrahimovic, United’s 28-goal top scorer, hobbled off in stoppage time after his right knee bent the wrong way.
Mourinho said he expected to find out more about the two players’ injuries “within a couple of days”.
Marcus Rashford proved a capable fill-in for Ibrahimovic, scoring the brilliant winner to send United into the semifi- nals for the first time.
The 19-year-old also scored the opening goal in United’s 2-0 win over Chelsea last Sunday when Ibrahimovic was rested.
Daley Blind took over from Rojo, but Mourinho has fewer options in central defense, with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones both currently sidelined.
The pair sustained injuries on England duty a month ago, Smalling injuring his knee and Jones his foot.
Mourinho said both players would be able to come back sooner than anticipated if they put their minds to it.
“I think it’s time for Jones and Smalling to be brave, to risk,” said the Portuguese, whose side visits Burnley in the Premier League on Sunday before tackling Manchester City next Thursday.
“Because for the team, you have to do everything. That’s the way I think.
“You cannot do miracles. I don’t expect miracles. But you have to try to do everything to accelerate the process.
“Even with a crazy mentality, they cannot play on Sunday. There are no miracles. But with a special spirit, you can