Quar­ter­fi­nal win over An­der­lecht leaves Ibrahi­movic, Rojo hob­bling

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

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

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