The Englishman was banned for two games in response to verbally abusing doping officials who attempted to take him away for tests, despite not playing, as the United squad posed with a banner expressing solidarity for the victims of the Manchester attack in May.
Eric Bailly still has two games left of his three match suspension to serve after being charged with violent conduct during Man United’s Europa League semi-final clash with Celta Vigo last season.
And Mourinho, speaking at a press conference in Skopje, noted that the defensive pair would be unavailable after the appeal against Jones’ ban was turned down.
This is a major blow. We shouldn’t ignore the potential peril that awaits United with Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling – two players who have struggled for assurance over pre-season – going up against Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Luka Modric and Isco in the searing Macedonian heat.
Supporters shouldn’t rule out the prospect of this getting ugly. Madrid are, by some stretch, the best attacking side in the world right now.
That said, we should be excited about this game for the very same reason: United will not receive a better litmus test for how they will fare against Europe’s best ahead of their return to Champions League this season.