Paul Pogba has been included in the Manchester United squad to face Sevilla in the Champions League.
Pogba missed the weekend win over Liverpool with a thigh injury sustained in training on Friday but participated in United’s closed session at their Carrington training complex on Monday.
United manager Jose Mourinho said at his pre-match press conference he was unsure if Pogba would be fit for United’s round-of-16 second leg but Pogba arrived with the United squad at The Lowry Hotel on Monday night.
“He trained a little bit after you left,” Mourinho said. “I don’t know if he will be fit for tomorrow yet.”
Anthony Martial has also returned to the squad having sat out the Liverpool and Crystal Palace victories last week with an unspecified injury. Martial will struggle to regain his place in the United XI after Marcus Rashford’s matchwinning performance against Liverpool, though.
Mourinho’s Monday press conference was dominated by his evisceration of Frank de Boer, whom he branded ‘the worst manager in the history of the Premier League’ after the former Crystal Palace coach criticised Mourinho’s handling of Rashford.
De Boer said on Saturday evening it is a ‘pity’ Mourinho manages Rashford, who scored twice on his first start since Boxing Day against Liverpool at the weekend. The 20-year-old has played more matches this season than he had at the same stage last term but his supposed lack of playing time in recent months has become a topical issue.
Louis van Gaal, who gave Rashford his debut two years ago, managed De Boer at Ajax, Barcelona and in the Netherlands national team. Mourinho refused to criticise any possible influence Van Gaal may have had on De Boer’s punditry appearance as he derided the Dutchman’s record.
“I read something, some quote from the worst manager in the history of the Premier League, Frank de Boer,” Mourinho said. “Seven matches, seven defeats, zero goals.
“Where he was saying it was not good for Marcus Rashford to have a coach like me because the most important thing for me is to win, if he was coached by Frank he would learn how to lose because he lost every game.
“I try to give the best to the kid, I have to be honest and give the credit to the people of the academy that was responsible for his formation, to Mr Van Gaal who was responsible for his first season.
“But if you go to his numbers and how many matches he played with me last season and this I would say probably he’s in the top five players with more matches in the two seasons and applies the same with Scott, the best thing that can happen to a kid is experiences and Marcus is having these.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic said last month he was targeting a comeback against Sevilla but it appears the Swede is not in contention to play even though he has trained with the senior squad for the last three weeks. Ibrahimovic, 36, has not played since he was substituted at the pause during United’s Boxing Day draw with Burnley.
Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind (ankle) and Ander Herrera (hamstring) are United’s other absentees for their European knockout tie.
Michael Carrick could be included in the United matchday squad again after he confirmed he would retire at the end of the season. Carrick has won 11 major trophies in 12 years with United but is set to stay at the club in a coaching capacity.
“It’s pretty much been said already to be honest with you,” Carrick said. “There comes a time when as much as you don’t like it, your body tells you it’s time to stop playing football. That’s pretty much where I am at, which is fine and something you’ve got to accept that. That’s where I’m at.
“It has kind of been sorted out [a coaching role]. We are still talking about it to be honest. There is nothing to confirm as yet but it’s looking likely.
Carrick was forced to have a procedure on his heart after suffering dizzy spells earlier in the season and, speaking in depth about the problem for the first time, he admitted at one point he wondered whether it would end his career.
“I had the problem in the Burton game when it started during the second-half and then I had a few tests after that and the second problem came on the Sunday of that week in training,” he explained. “So I had the procedure the following week which I went through which is totally fine and I’m clear.
“It took a little bit of time to get over. There were some time there – two/three days where i was thinking am I going to carry on? Is it worth it or not and that quickly passed and I got back fit.
“I wanted to finish on my own terms and at least I could decide and not before that and was determined to get back fit.”
Goalkeepers: David de Gea, Sergio Romero, Joel Pereira
Defenders: Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelöf, Chris Smalling, Matteo Darmian, Ashley Young, Luke Shaw
Midfielders: Scott McTominay, Marouane Fellaini, Paul Pogba, Michael Carrick, Nemanja Matic, Jesse Lingard
Forwards: Juan Mata, Anthony Martial, Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford, Alexis Sanchez