Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho addressed the media before the clash with Zorya. Getty Images


  • Valencia, Darmian and Carrick have been rested ahead of the Premier League clash.
  • Smalling and Shaw remain sidelined but manager has no fresh injury concerns.
  • United need a point to go through to the knockout stages of the Europa League.

Jose Mourinho has assured that Manchester United are fully focused in the trip to Zorya Luhansk on Thursday (8 December) despite the Europa League final group clash coming only three days before their Premier League encounter with Tottenham Hotspur. The Portuguese boss said that he has decided to protect the likes of Antonio Valencia, Mateo Darmian and Michael Carrick ahead of Sunday but the rest of 19-man players in his squad are available to start.

United beat the Ukranian side in the in the reverse fixture back in September and only need a point this time against the bottom side of the group A to secure the qualification for the round of 32 in the Europa League.

Mourinho's side will also go through to the knockout stages with a defeat if in the other group game Feyenoord fail to beat Fenerbahce, which are currently leading the Group, one point ahead of United and three above the Eredivisie side.

The United boss hopes his side to continue in the competition, but expressed his concerns about the state of the pitch due to the conditions in Odessa.

"The flight was good, thank you. The hotel is good, the stadium is good, the pitch is bad, but it is very cold and I know that it is difficult to have a better pitch. The most important competition is always the next match, so today I say the most important competition is the Europa League and tomorrow I will say the most important competition is the Premier League," Mourinho said in the press conference ahead of the game.

"We are going in the same direction. We assumed from the beginning that this is an important competition for us. It is difficult because we play Thursday and then Sunday. We are never given a Monday match to have one more day to rest and prepare. It is difficult to play together. But we want to try to win it and while we are in the competition will try to win it. We want to go as far as possible, step by step. The first step is to qualify from a very difficult group."

The boss has rested Valencia, Darmian and Carrick ahead of the Premier League game with Tottenham after the trio were in his starting line-up against the Toffees. Furthermore, out-of-favour duo Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin have also been left out of the list for technical reasons.

But asked whether he plans to rest more players to avoid injuries due to the condition of the pitch, he said: "The players I had to leave out to protect, I left them in Manchester. The ones that I brought, I brought them to play, not to protect them."

Chris Smalling and Shaw have also failed to make the trip to Zorya as United official website reported earlier on Thursday that the duo remain on the sidelines.

Yet, asked whether he has any fresh injury concerns for the game, Mourinho said: "Injured? Nobody".

Meanwhile, Henrikh Mkhitaryan may be ready for his fourth consecutive starting appearance after being the player selected to address the media in the preview of the game.