Antonio Valencia has revealed his absence from Manchester United’s starting XI over the last month has been due to “tactical reasons”.
The Ecuadorian, named the club’s official captain over the summer, has not featured since the 0-0 draw with Valencia on October 2.
Jose Mourinho revealed ahead of Man United’s 2-1 win over AFC Bournemouth that Valencia was working on his own in the gym as he made a return from injury.
“Antonio Valencia? I watched something funny in his Instagram where he says ‘work work work’ in the gym,” Mourinho said. “He should say ‘work work work alone because I am injured and I cannot train with the team’.
“So the reason why he was in the gym was because he was injured and he couldn’t train with the team. So I think it looked like he was working really, really hard and he was. But without the ball and without the team, so you can imagine that he is not selected because he is not ready.”
Valencia, however, has not been totally injured since October 2, flitting in and out of fitness while Mourinho has plumped with a back four of Ashley Young, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw for six consecutive games.
He was certainly fit for Ecuador’s 2-0 win over Peru on Thursday, during which he scored his 11th international goal.
Speaking after the game, he explained that Ashley Young‘s strong performances in the right back slot were the main reason for his absence from the starting XI.
“The relationship with Mourinho has always been a good one,” he said. “Right now I haven’t been playing, but it’s more of a tactical decision. The player who has been in my place (Young) has been playing well. You have to respect the decision.”
“The only thing I can do is prepare and be ready for when he (Mourinho) needs me and be in the right condition to compete. I’m calm right now and I know I’ll get an opportunity to play again.”