Manchester United will welcome back defender Eric Bailly for the Premier League visit of Hull City after his spell at the Africa Cup of Nations. Ivory Coast were knocked out at the group stage in Gabon, meaning the 22-year-old will return to the fold sooner that expected.
Bailly missed seven matches in total, including both legs of the English League Cup semi-final against The Tigers, the third and fourth rounds of the FA Cup with Reading and Wigan Athletic. and the Premier League clashes with West Ham United, Liverpool, and Stoke City. The former Villarreal centre-back has been among the club's most impressive performers this term and is expected to slot straight back into the first team.
Alongside Bailly, United are set to recall several players for their third match against Hull in the space of four weeks. Mourinho made nine changes for the 4-0 win over Wigan over the weekend, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba will both return after being rested, while Antonio Valencia will also be restored at full-back.
"We always play a full-strength team," Mourinho said, according to the official United website. "It depends on the way you look at it but we always try to have a strong team. Of course, we had some players that didn't play the last match [against Wigan], some players with a lot of matches played already – people like Valencia, Ibra, Pogba. Some of these players with lot of matches didn't play but will play tomorrow."
Despite securing a berth in the EFL Cup final, United were defeated by a spirited Hull at the KCOM Stadium last week as Marco Silva's side maintained their 100% home record since the Portuguese coach took charge. Tom Huddlestone's penalty was cancelled out by Pogba's strike, but Oumar Niasse scored his first goal in English football to claim the win – but it was not enough to send the club to Wembley.
Mourinho refused to accept the result at Hull, after referee Jon Moss awarded a controversial penalty to the hosts in the first half of the second leg, but knows his side cannot afford a similar result on Wednesday (1 February). United are four points adrift of the Champions League places and will be eager to get back to winning ways.
"The last time we played them, even a defeat would be a good result – even if we lost the match by one goal difference, it would give us a final," Mourinho added. "Tomorrow, only three points is a good result for us. If we don't win, it's really bad because we need to win matches – that's the big difference. We need to win the match."