Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed Phil Jones and Chris Smalling sustained “long-term injuries” on England duty.
Saturday’s home clash with West Brom is the first of nine matches for United in April as they juggle domestic and European exertions.
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Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ander Herrera miss this weekend’s match through suspension and a hamstring issue rules Paul Pogba out, but it is setbacks to Jones and Smalling that could prove most costly in the long run.
Jones withdrew from the England squad last week due to a toe injury that appeared to be sustained in a training ground duel with team-mate Smalling, who days later left the squad with fitness problems of his own.
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The defender has been spotted with his right leg in a brace and Mourinho has revealed the pair face a substantial chunk of time on the sidelines.
Asked how long he expects to be without Jones and Smalling, the United boss said: “I don’t know, I don’t know.
“I know that Zlatan and Herrera have the last match ban, so it’s easy to say they will be available after the match.
“I think clearly the two English boys they are long-term injuries and Pogba I have no idea. I don’t know.”
Mourinho confirmed he can call upon fit-again Wayne Rooney against West Brom and preferred to focus on those available ahead of a match that could play a key role in the battle for the top four.
“They’re not important,” Mourinho said. “The important ones are the ones that are ready to play. That’s the way we have to think.
“We cannot be here crying or speaking about the players who are not available to play.
“You know Zlatan and Herrera are suspended, you know that Herrera is two matches banned for that episode against Chelsea.
“You know what happened in the English national team with Smalling and Jones.
“You know that we have also Pogba injured, but I repeat they’re not important.
“The important players are the ones that are ready to play and the ones I trust and the ones who are going to give us everything tomorrow to try to keep us in the fight for the top four.”