Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed that captain Wayne Rooney and midfielder Michael Carrick are doubtful for their trip to West Ham United on 2 January, two days following their 2-1 victory over Middlesbrough on New Year's Eve at Old Trafford.
The England international forward had also missed the Red Devils' game against Sunderland. The former Real Madrid and Chelsea manager earlier confirmed that the 31-year-old had suffered a thigh injury.
Carrick failed to make it to the squad to face Aitor Karanka's side due to illness. Mourniho admitted that the midfielder has more chances of starting against the Hammers than Rooney.
"Rooney has a little chance and Michael has a bigger chance than Rooney. Let's see how he is tomorrow," Mourinho explained, as quoted by United's official website.
The United manager changed the centre-back pairing against Middlesbrough. Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo were impressive for the 20-time English champions in recent games and the two were on the bench, with Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly featuring in their latest win.
The Ivory Coast international will join his national squad for the 2017 African Cup of Nations, which will leave United without his services until he returns from international duty. Mourinho revealed the Red Devils' request of keeping him until 2 January was turned down.
"Bailly is leaving – he goes to the national team. He has to be with them on 2 January. We asked them for him to be on 3 January but they refused, so he cannot play against West Ham," he added.
"I know that I lose Bailly for a month and I'm going to have Smalling, Rojo and Jones for, I think, eight matches. So I decided to play Eric [against Middlesbrough] and it was good to have him on the pitch because, one-on-one at the back, he's the best because he's very fast," he noted.