Manchester United head coach Jose Mourinho has confirmed that both Romelu Lukaku and Marouane Fellaini are in first-team contention ahead of Friday night’s FA Cup showdown versus Derby County.
Lukaku had a clash of heads with Jack Stephens during the goalless draw versus Southampton last weekend, and this saw him miss the Everton game on a precautionary measure taken by the club’s hierarchy.
Speaking to MUTV, Mourinho said: “Romelu is back, Romelu is back. As I said it was not a concussion, it was a precaution, a protection for him. He wanted to play against Everton, but this time he is back.”
Meanwhile, the 54-year-old also provided a boost on the fitness of Fellaini, who is expected to return to the first-team mix after spending an extended time on the sidelines for a recurrence of his knee problem.
Aside from this, the likes of Michael Carrick and Antonio Valencia are likely to return in the coming weeks, although the former could be offered an extended period to work on his fitness after his heart procedure earlier this term.
Mourinho added: “From the injured players, Fellaini is back. And Michael Carrick is back to training, not to competition, but is back to training with the team. Antonio Valencia will be back to the team next week, so he is not playing tomorrow but will be back to the team next week. The situation is improving for us.”
Manchester United are more or less out of contention for the Premier League crown this campaign, and the FA Cup remains the most realistic chance of securing silverware, although there is definite competition from elite clubs.