Marcos Rojo has noted that he is raring to go against Manchester City on Sunday after making an early return from a knee injury.
The defender suffered damage to his knee ligaments back in April and was expected to return midway through December.
But Rojo, along with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, returned in time to feature on the bench against Newcastle United last month and has produced commanding displays against FC Basel, Watford and Arsenal.
Speaking to MUTV ahead of the Manchester derby, Rojo revealed how a strict rehabilitation regime in Portugal over the summer helped him return ahead of schedule.
“It was good to get the rest [after being omitted from the squad to face CSKA Moscow],” he said. “I’ve played three matches now and had 90 minutes in those games and I actually felt better than I thought I would do physically and I’m getting back into that rhythm now.”
“I think it was a good decision by the manager to leave me out [against CSKA] because I feel fresh.
“It’s great for me to be back on the pitch and feel the love of the fans and the love of the people again. My return has come from the hard work I put in over the summer in Portugal to try to get myself back to peak condition. There were difficult moments and it was tough but, during those times, I relied on my family to help me through and it’s great to be back.
“I’m really looking forward to Sunday. It seemed like it was a long way in the distance when I was injured, but now it’s here and I’m ready and fit and raring to go.”
Rojo’s performances since returning from injury have reflected the ruthless aggression that hallmarked his recovery process over the summer: straight to the point, maximum aggression, picking up from exactly where he left off.
Mourinho admitted ahead of the CSKA Moscow clash that fielding Rojo at the Emirates was a risk given the lack of minutes under his belt but the Argentine put himself on the line in emphatic fashion, forming an essential part of a back three that flung themselves in front of numerous shots, produced a stream of crucial interceptions, and just generally worked themselves down to the bone.
Needless to say, he will need to do the same – and more – on Sunday afternoon.