Manchester United will be without Paul Pogba, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ander Herrera for their Premier League clash against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, Jose Mourinho has confirmed.
Defenders Jones and Smalling both suffered knocks while on international duty with England, while Pogba sat out of the international break altogether after picking up a hamstring injury during the Red Devils' Europa League victory over Rostov earlier this month.
The extent of Jones and Smalling's injuries are not yet known, while France international Pogba is expected to be back in action within the next couple of weeks. Ibrahimovic and Herrera, who have been incredibly influential for Manchester United this season, are both serving the final portion of their three and two-match suspensions respectively.
Mourinho will no doubt be frustrated about losing two of his senior central defenders while on international duty – Smalling actually injured Jones during a Three Lions training session last week – and the former Chelsea manager was rather blunt when delivering the news regarding his unavailable contingent: "So we lose four [players] and I think Paul Pogba is also out," the Manchester United boss told club's official website. "So we lose five."
The absence of Smalling and Jones will force Mourinho into a defensive reshuffle ahead of the clash with West Brom, who currently occupy eighth place in the Premier League.
The two England internationals both started Manchester United's last game against Middlesbrough before the break, and their unavailability will presumably give Argentine Marcos Rojo and Matteo Darmian the chance to start. Eric Bailly, who was deployed at right-back against the lowly Teessiders, will almost certainly be shifted back into a central defensive role.
Pogba and Herrera's continued absence will leave Mourinho little choice but to hand the much-maligned Marouane Fellaini another start, while the lack of Ibrahimovic allows Marcus Rashford another opportunity to spearhead the United attack.
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