Marouane Fellaini has been ruled out of Manchester United’s UEFA Champions League Group Stage game against CSKA Moscow on Wednesday with an ankle injury.
The Belgian midfielder suffered the knock against Southampton on Saturday afternoon after a tackle from Shane Long.
The BBC’s Simon Stone suggests that José Mourinho and the club were angered by the tackle and it’s impact on Fellaini.
Understand @Fellaini not in Man Utd squad for Moscow due to ankle injury. Club furious at tackle from Long that led to injury.
— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) September 25, 2017
It speaks volumes of the increase in importance of Fellaini to Man United that fans are frustrated to see him miss Wednesday night’s fixture.
A couple of seasons ago, Fellaini was being jeered at a pre-season friendly at Old Trafford. Now, his value is great to United.
That’s particularly true with the continued absence of Paul Pogba. United’s star player suffered a hamstring injury against FC Basel in the last group game of the Champions League, and could still be out for over a month longer.
Fellaini has become one of the first choice midfielders at United, alongside summer signing Nemanja Matić.
United and Mourinho are now left with limited options in midfield. Ander Herrera has played irregularly so far this season, but will likely have to be used on Wednesday as one of four midfielders available.
The other three are Matić, 36-year-old club captain Michael Carrick and 20-year-old academy graduate Scott McTominay. Daley Blind, more frequently used at left-back or centre-back, could also be used in midfield.