Henrikh Mkhitaryan returns to the Manchester United squad for the trip to the Olimp-2 Stadium to face FC Rostov in the Europa League on Thursday.
Manchester United turn their attention back to Europe, and next up is the visit to the Olimp-2 Stadium to take on Russian outfit FC Rostov in the first leg of the Europa League Round of 16 on Thursday.
The two sides are meeting for the first time and a win could see Jose Mourinho’s side establish a crucial advantage in the tie. Ahead of the first leg on Thursday, here’s the team news for Manchester United.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 7, 2017
Jose Mourinho has four players missing from his squad due to fitness or disciplinary issues, but has the luxury of welcoming one key player for the trip to Russia. Eric Bailly is unavailable due to suspension after he was sent off for two bookable offences in the Round of 32 second leg against Saint-Etienne.
In Bailly’s absence, it is expected that Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo will continue at the heart of the Manchester United defence, just as they had against Bournemouth. Meanwhile, Luke Shaw has not travelled to Russia after playing against Bournemouth on the weekend, and Daley Blind is expected to start as the left-back.
Club captain Wayne Rooney is not part of the travelling squad either, while Bastian Schweinsteiger remains absent due to the minor injury that saw him miss last weekend’s match. However, the good news for Mourinho is that attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan is fit and available.
The Armenian international had been missing in action since he scored the only goal in the second leg of the Round of 32 tie against Saint-Etienne last month. However, he has completely recovered from the minor hamstring problem that saw him miss the last two games and has travelled to Russia.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 8, 2017
However, Mourinho said in his pre-match press conference that he is unsure if Mkhitaryan would feature on Thursday due to the state of the pitch at the Olimp-2 Stadium, which the Manchester United boss expressed concerns about.
Mourinho said: “I know we have to but it’s hard for me to believe we are going to play on that field, if you can call it a field. I don’t know which team to play, really. I don’t know which team I will play, I don’t know if Mkhitaryan is going to play. I have a lot to think because I was expecting something more playable.”
However, Mourinho did confirm that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will start the match on Thursday night when quizzed about the Swedish striker’s three-match domestic ban for an incident in the 1-1 draw against Bournemouth on Saturday.
Here’s the 20-man Manchester United squad to face FC Rostov on Thursday:
De Gea, Romero, O’Hara; Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Smalling, Blind, Darmian, Young; Carrick, Herrera, Fellaini, Pogba, Mata, Lingard, Mkhitaryan; Martial, Rashford, Ibrahimovic.