Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Paul Pogba will be ready to return to action for the first leg of the Europa League semi-finals at Celta Vigo on Thursday (4 May). The Portuguese boss also provided a positive update on the recovery of Juan Mata, yet the two midfielders will remain sidelined when Swansea visit Old Trafford on Sunday.
The news is a much-needed boost for Mourinho after recent injury woes. Marouane Fellaini is out for three matches following his dismissal in the goalless draw at Manchester City while Tim Fosu-Mensah has joined Pogba, Mata, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones in the treatment room.
Pogba missed the Manchester derby after suffering a muscular injury during the win over Burnley. Meanwhile, Mata is yet to play a game since the win over Middlesbrough on 19 March, after being forced to undergo a groin surgery.
But Mourinho revealed that the two midfielders will be ready to help his side soon, confirming that the Frenchman will be available for the crucial European encounter with Celta next week.
Asked about the rest of his injured players in a press conference ahead of the clash with Swansea, he said: "I think the first one to be back is Mata, which gives us another option in attack but, in reality, what we need now is one of the two central defenders [Smalling and Jones] to be back."
"We're arriving at an extreme situation, I think it must be unique in football, with two cruciate ligament injuries in the same match. In my career, I had one player in 17 years [injuring his cruciate]. Now, against Anderlecht, I have two in one match and we are very unlucky, it's the only thing we can say.
"The other small injuries – Pogba and [Antonio] Valencia in the last week - are injuries due to fatigue and the accumulation of matches, which is normal."
Mourinho has suggested that Wayne Rooney could return to the middle of the park against Swansea in order to cope with the blows to Fellaini and Fosu-Mensah.
"It's an option. We have Herrera and Carrick and nothing else. Tim is another one that we miss so we are in trouble, but we will fight that's for sure," Mourinho said.
The situation is even more dramatic in the heart of the defence as he only has Eric Bailly and Daley Blind available.
Questioned whether it could be time to give a chance to promising Axel Tuanzebe against Swansea, he joked: "I am also training hard in the gym so I can be an option also – Mourinho and Tuanzebe against Swansea!
"In this moment, Eric is the only option we have – it's Axel, Eric and Daley [Blind]. I think Eric and Daley played again absolutely amazing [against City]. I have to speak with them and see how they are and see how they feel."