Manchester United face something close to a midfield crisis for Wednesday’s night’s UEFA Champions League trip to CSKA Moscow.
Marouane Fellaini is unavailable with an ankle injury after a heavy tackle from Southampton’s Shane Long at the weekend.
A potential candidate to replace him, Michael Carrick, Man United’s club captain, has also been ruled out with a knock, manager José Mourinho revealed on Tuesday afternoon.
This is all in the middle of Paul Pogba‘s extended absence, having suffered a serious hamstring injury against FC Basel in United’s opening group game of the Champions League, a 3-0 victory.
The Reds are in excellent form going into a tricky tie away in Moscow, but are left with very limited midfield options.
Summer signing Nemanja Matić has proved Mr Reliable and Mr Consistent so far this season, excelling alongside whichever partner Mourinho has selected for him. He’s available and won’t have a chance to be rested just yet.
Alongside him is the issue, though. Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera and young Scott McTominay are the only two options, while Daley Blind, primarily used at left-back under Mourinho, could be called in if desperately needed.
Mourinho is likely to go with a midfield pairing of Herrera and Matić, but with no return date yet set for Carrick nor Fellaini, he’ll be thankful there’s an international break coming up.
United still have two long-term absentees in Zlatan Ibrahimović and Marcos Rojo, both of whom suffered knee ligament injuries against Anderlecht in the UEFA Europe League quarter-final back in April.