Valencia was not included in the match-day after it was revealed that the Ecuadorian, following his exploits for the national side and Man United, was “really, really tired.”
And Mourinho, speaking after the game, confirmed that the 31-year-old would be ready in time for the clash in Belgium.
“We had lots of players that were not here today and the most important thing after the three points was to have no more injuries. Only Valencia is the one I really expect to recover and play the next match,” he said.
The clash at the Stadium of Light was played at a relatively benign tempo, with the visitors turning the entire affair into something of a training exercise from the very moment Zlatan Ibrahimovic put them ahead.
Thursday’s clash with Anderlecht, however, promises to be a very different story: the Belgian side, mindful of United’s superb record at Old Trafford in Europe this season, will throw everything at Mourinho’s men, and you sense that Valencia’s indefatigable presence will be vital when it comes to matching the tempo set by the home side.