Jose Mourinho without Manchester United duo Ashley Young and Wayne Rooney for Sunderland trip

George Flood
Ashley Young and Wayne Rooney

Ashley Young has been ruled out of Manchester United's Premier League clash with rock-bottom Sunderland on Sunday (9 April), with Jose Mourinho also confirming that captain Wayne Rooney will miss the trip to Wearside.

Young started at Old Trafford in midweek as a last-gasp penalty from the returning Zlatan Ibrahimovic cancelled out Phil Jagielka's opener and secured yet another home draw against Everton, but was replaced by the much-maligned Luke Shaw 20 minutes after the break having suffered an unspecified injury. Rooney missed the match altogether due to pain in both ankles and was subsequently deemed doubtful for the weekend.

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United are already without defensive duo Phil Jones and Chris Smalling due to long-term toe and knee injuries suffered on international duty with England, while Juan Mata is reportedly targeting the second leg of this month's Europa League quarter-final tie against Anderlecht to make his return. The affable Spaniard underwent surgery on a groin problem last week.

Providing a latest injury update during his pre-match press conference, Mourinho said: "Rooney is not available. Young is injured and there is no more news, because with Mata, Smalling and Jones you already know we are speaking about old injuries."

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Ecuador's Antonio Valencia is expected to return after being left out of the squad to face Everton due to fatigue suffered after playing the entirety of a goalless draw with West Bromwich Albion shortly after returning from World Cup qualifying duty in South America. Paul Pogba, who recently spent three weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring strain, should also be fit to start having come through a 45-minute substitute cameo unscathed on Tuesday night.

Addressing that slightly misleading unbeaten run that has seen his side amass 10 wins and 10 draws in the top-flight since October's thrashing by Chelsea, Mourinho added: "It's good to know that we have a fantastic run of 20 unbeaten matches in the Premier League. I know, as an example, 10 matches, 10 draws or 10 points, 10 matches with five victories is 15 points.

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"What is better? The 15 points, obviously. In terms of looking to the future, I prefer to look at 10 matches with 10 draws, you have something that is not easy to have. You are quite solid mentally, difficult to beat, fighting against difficult circumstances."

Mourinho expressed sympathy for the plight of beleaguered opposite number David Moyes, whose doomed side sit 10 points adrift of safety with only eight matches left to play amid a six-match winless run in which they have failed to net a single goal. The former United boss also faced staunch criticism for controversial "slap comments" made towards BBC journalist Vicki Sparks following last month's goalless draw with Burnley that only recently came to light.

"I have sympathy with every manager that is fighting hard to reach their objectives," he said. "Everyone is a good professional, everyone gives everything and fights all season. Some of us, we are sacked in the middle of the season; it's difficult for everyone, so of course I have sympathy."

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