Jose Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge on Monday night for Manchester United’s FA Cup quarter-final meeting with Chelsea without any fit senior strikers.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is ruled out through suspension as he sits out the first of a three-game ban following his charge of violent conduct for a deliberate elbow on Tyrone Mings during Bournemouth’s draw with United.
The Sun report Mourinho will also be without Marcus Rashford through illness while both Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial have suffered injuries and will not make the crucial clash.
Rooney is believed to have suffered an injury in a training ground clash with defender Phil Jones, with the Manchester United captain unable to continue the session.
It now leaves Mourinho with no fit strikers having travelled to London without the trio. Marouane Fellaini is now favourite to start up top having played there for Everton and last year on occasion at Manchester United under Louis van Gaal.
Jesse Lingard and Henrikh Mkhitaryan could also be used as a makeshift striker as the ex-Chelsea boss aims to take the Red Devils back to Wembley, having already won the EFL Cup there in February in a 3-2 win over Southampton.
The United boss has said he will be prioritising the Europa League, with a place in next season’s Champions League available to the competition’s winners.
“It comes in the wrong moment for us because the Europa League is a competition that can give us a Champions League spot and the FA Cup isn’t.
“So the Europa League is more important than the FA Cup for us.”
Given that Mourinho will be eager to get his strikers back to full fitness with the games coming thick and fast, with the return of Ibrahimovic for Thursday’s Europa League clash likely to ease the pressure.
With Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham already through to Monday night’s FA Cup semi-final draw, the stage is set for two mouth watering dates at Wembley next month.
Both Manchester United and Chelsea will be hoping to be in the hat, with Mourinho’s job made all that more difficult now.
Damien McEvoy, Pundit Arena