Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Paul Pogba will feature for Manchester United against CSKA Moscow on Tuesday night (5 December), while Sergio Romero is set to start the final Champions League Group A clash at Old Trafford.
Pogba has played an influential role in the five matches since returning from more than two months on the sidelines with a hamstring injury on 18 November, yet will be absent again for United's next three Premier League matches against Manchester City, Bournemouth and West Bromwich Albion after being sent off for a nasty challenge on Hector Bellerin during Saturday's thrilling 3-1 win at Arsenal.
There were also fears that he could face an extended suspension after sarcastically applauding referee Andre Marriner before leaving the pitch at the Emirates Stadium.
With the Frenchman unavailable for domestic duty until at least the Carabao Cup quarter-final meeting with Championship promotion hopefuls Bristol City on 20 December, Mourinho plans to involve him tomorrow as his side look to seal their place in the last 16 of European football's elite club competition.
"Of course, he's a bit tired because it was a huge match at the weekend and just two days to recover for CSKA," Mourinho said at a press conference when asked if Pogba would feature. "But he's very happy to play and to try to keep his momentum because since he was back from injury, he's been phenomenal."
The sublime David De Gea produced a league record-equalling 14 saves to help United overcome Arsenal in north London, but, just as he did throughout last season's successful Europa League campaign and in last month's 1-0 defeat in Basel, will make way for his deputy Romero against a CSKA outfit missing five players. Third-choice custodian Joel Pereira will be on the bench.
Asked if he had ever worked with a better goalkeeper than De Gea, Mourinho quipped: "Yes, Romero. Because he plays tomorrow and my goalkeeper is always the best goalkeeper in the world. So now David is the third best. Romero is number one and Joel [Pereira] number two, and David is the third best."
Mourinho confirmed he would be without Nemaja Matic, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick, Phil Jones and Eric Bailly on Tuesday, while he will consider making changes before such a sizable league fixture. However, it remains to be seen if Ashley Young will be rested, potentially opening the door for lesser-spotted left-back Luke Shaw to make just his third appearance of the season in any competition.
"I'd have to think," the manager said. "I'm going to make a few but not too many changes. We didn't qualify yet and I need to keep a certain balance in the team. But when you speak about Luke Shaw, you are right. He's working to have an opportunity and sooner or later, the opportunity will arrive, because he deserves that opportunity. Selected for tomorrow, yes, for sure. To start or to be on the bench, I cannot answer."
In a seeming reference to Arsenal fielding Alexandre Lacazette against his team despite Arsene Wenger ruling him out of the match earlier in the week, Mourinho even hinted at producing a selection surprise of his own.
"All the other players that didn't play the last match are still out. I can make a surprise tomorrow and the one that is unavailable, he plays," he added.
United would secure top spot in the group by avoiding defeat to CSKA, who are also still in contention for a knockout berth. Only a loss of seven goals or more would deny them a place in the last 16.