Jose Mourinho says Manchester United pair Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Michael Carrick have "no chance" of recovering in time for Sunday's English Football League Cup final against Southampton and believes the showpiece at Wembley will be "complicated" without the stricken duo.
Mkhitaryan scored the only goal in United's Europa League second leg victory over Saint-Etienne on Wednesday night (22 February) but had to be withdrawn midway through the first half with a hamstring injury, while Carrick seemed to suffer a calf problem during the second period. Mourinho believes the influential pair are definitely out of Sunday's final against Southampton as they simply have 'no time' to recover.
"You can be injured leaving your house, in the garden," Mourinho said after the match. "It's the result of so many matches and you have the risk of it but at the same time when someone is missing it is an opportunity for someone else to step up. "They're (Carrick and Mkhitaryan) important players, not to have them for the final is complicated.
Asked if the pair were definitely out of contention for Sunday, Mourinho said: "I just say what I feel, hamstring and a calf in three days? I think that three days is no time.I think they have no chance (for Sunday). This is based on my experience, not on my medical knowledge."
Many questioned Mourinho's decision to play such a strong team at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard when the tie was essentially all but over, but the Portuguese coach stressed the need to send 'the right message' to his United squad.
"I need to give the right message to the players and that is to play with a strong team and to have a bench with good options," added United boss. "The first goal would be a massive difference, we didn't play phenomenal but had complete control of the game."
The injuries to Carrick and Mkhitaryan sour a successful evening in France for United, but they will be able to call upon Ander Herrera for the final against Saints after the Spaniard missed the victory over Saint-Etienne through suspension.