Manchester United are facing a major defensive crisis ahead of their clash against city rivals Manchester City after Marcos Rojo joined Chris Smalling and Phil Jones on the sidelines with a knee injury.

The Argentine defender will miss the rest of the season after damaging ligaments in his knee during the Red Devils' win over Anderlecht in the Europa League and his absence leaves Jose Mourinho with just one fit centre-back in Eric Bailly.

The Portuguese manager is desperate for an injury boost and has urged Smalling and Jones to throw caution to the wind and make themselves available for the game against City on Thursday (27 April). Mourinho questioned the duos mentality and believes if they have similar thought process as him, they will push to play in the Manchester derby.

The England internationals have missed United's last seven games, which they have won and it was initially expected that they will miss the rest of the campaign. The Red Devils boss, however, has continued his calls for them to return sooner and even suggested that they should be brave and hasten their recovery process after Rojo suffered his injury last week.

"If I was Smalling or Jones, I would play Thursday with anything, I would do a last push," Mourinho said, as quoted by the Mirror.

"If they have a crazy mentality like I have, they would. If they are a safe thinking and they are surrounded by people with the same mentality as they have, it's more time. More cautious. If it was me, nobody would stop me to play," the Portuguese coach added.

Phil Jones
Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have missed the last seven games for United Getty

United will also be without Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the game against Pep Guardiola's side after the striker suffered severe knee ligament damage during the in over Anderlecht. However, despite the injury crisis, United are on a 23-match unbeaten run in the Premier League and can leapfrog their opponents and move up to fourth place on the table with a win on Thursday night.