Manchester United injury news: Mourinho tells Chris Smalling and Phil Jones 'to be brave' after Marcos Rojo injury blow

Naveen Ullal
Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has urged Chris Smalling and Phil Jones to be "brave" and make a quick return from injury to ease of defensive crisis at Old Trafford.

Marcos Rojo picked up a left knee injury during his side's Europa League quarter-final second leg tie against Anderlecht at Old Trafford on 20 April. The Argentine international was stretchered off the field and was replaced by Daley Blind in the first half.

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Smalling and Jones picked up injuries during the last international break in March and Mourinho earlier admitted that he expected the England international duo to return in mid-May. Rojo's latest injury blow leaves the former Real Madrid and Chelsea manager with Eric Bailly as the only recognised, first choice centre-back in the squad.

Mourinho has the services of Blind, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Matteo Darmian and Axel Tuanzebe in that position. However, the Red Devils manager wants Smalling and Jones to use the "special spirit" in order to expedite their recovery process in making a quick return from injury.

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"I think it's time for Jones and Smalling to be brave, to risk because for the team you have to do everything," Mourinho explained, as quoted by the Daily Mail.

"You cannot do miracles. I don't expect miracles but we have to try to do everything to accelerate the process. With a special spirit you can (be back) sooner than be expected, so instead of mid-May they can come back the beginning of May. If it was me, I think tomorrow."

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic has also picked up an injury. Mourinho admitted Rojo and Ibrahimovic's latest setbacks are not "easy injuries" as they join Smalling, Jones and Juan Mata at Old Trafford's injury list.

The 20-time English champions qualified for the semi-final of the Europa League after Marcus Rashford's extra time winner proved to be the difference between the two sides. United progressed to the last four by winning the two-legged quarter-final tie 3-2 on aggregate after extra time.

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