Paul Scholes believes that Manchester United will cope without Henrikh Mkhitaryan against Southampton in the League Cup final on Sunday.
Jose Mourinho, speaking after Man United’s 1-0 win over Saint Etienne, confirmed that the Armenian – who limped off after 25 minutes with a hamstring injury – would not recover in time for the clash with Claude Puel’s side.
But Scholes, speaking on BT Sport, conceded that losing the 28-year-old was indeed a blow, whilst also noting that Mourinho has a wealth of other options to call upon.
“It’s the strength of what he [Mourinho] has got. It’s the size of his squad,” he said. “He still has Martial on the bench. He has Valencia to come back in. There are still real options there.”
“You’d like Mkhitaryan because he has been in such good form in recent weeks. It is a blow. There are still players to come in in that position.”
Losing Mkhitaryan’s raw creative endeavour for what promises to be the biggest game of the season so far is indeed a bitter pill to swallow. On that grand, plush Wembley surface, the Armenian could have invoked some serious damage in the No.10 role.
Such a development will most likely force Mourinho into using a 4-3-3 set-up, with Anthony Martial and Juan Mata lining up on the wings alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic. And with Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford also chomping at the bit, the Portuguese will know that, in spite of Mkhitaryan’s absence, United’s attacking frontier boasts plenty of potency.