Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini out of Russia vs Belgium friendly

Nick Howson
Marouane Fellaini

Jose Mourinho has been left ruing the international break after a third Manchester United player suffered an injury prior to the resumption of the domestic season. Marouane Fellaini has been ruled out of Belgium's international friendly with Russia in Sochi due to what is being described as a "toe complaint" by the Reds Devils.

The 29-year-old played 66 minutes in the 1-1 draw with Greece last week but he, along with Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and Montreal Impact's Laurent Ciman, will miss the second game on Tuesday [28 March]. Paris Saint-Germain defender Thomas Meunier, Blues winger Eden Hazard and Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne remain out having missed the qualifier in Brussels.

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But the greatest concern is over Fellaini, who adds to United's injury problems which have swelled since their last Premier League outing against Middlesbrough. Chris Smalling and Phil Jones were both forced to withdraw from the England squad with injuries, taking the club's injury list to seven.

Wayne Rooney's knee problem kept him out of the international break while Paul Pogba's hamstring injury meant he is unable to represent France. Striker James Wilson is a longer-term absentee having suffered a knee injury while on loan at Derby County.

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Ander Herrera will also miss the game against Tony Pulis' men on Saturday [1 April] a he serves the second of his two-game ban for being sent off in the FA Cup loss to Chelsea. The resumption of the Premier League season may fall on April Fool's Day but it is no laughing matter for Mourinho and his top-four chasing side.

Victory in each of their next three games can help lay the platform for a late tilt at claiming a Champions League place. United host West Brom and then Everton before travelling to bottom club Sunderland, games which occur prior to a daunting run-in at the end of the campaign.

United must go to Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur before the end of the season, while Mourinho also faces former club Chelsea for a third time this term.

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