Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has all but confirmed that Ander Herrera will miss Sunday’s clash against Chelsea.
After missing the previous three matches across all competitions, the Spaniard was somewhat of a surprise inclusion in the United starting XI for Wednesday night’s Champions League round of 16 first-leg meeting with Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.
Taking up a place in the engine room alongside Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay, Herrera’s return to the team as well as his home country didn’t last too long as he limped off after just 17 minutes of action to be replaced by Paul Pogba.
The 28-year-old pulled up in the box with a suspected hamstring problem after attempting a back-heel and now looks set for another extended spell on the sidelines following confirmation from Mourinho that the injury is indeed serious and will keep him out of the visit from the Blues at the weekend.
It didn’t look like he was fully fit,” said Mourinho.
“I think he has a bad injury. He had a small injury that stopped him for the last couple of matches, but the medical department gave him 100% ready for last Saturday [against Huddersfield in the FA Cup].
“He looked fit [on Tuesday] and the way he was playing during his time on the pitch – he was pressing a lot, really high – you only do that when you feel good.
“Then it was a back-heel, and a back-heel creates a contraction in the muscular area where he had the biggest problem, and now we have proof that he was not 100% fit.”
Herrera’s injury might just come as a big boost for Eden Hazard. In the corresponding fixture between the two clubs last season, the Belgian was man marked out of the game at Old Trafford by the midfielder and the Blues fell to a 2-0 loss.
With Marouane Fellaini recovering from a knee operation and Michael Carrick struggling with fitness, Mourinho’s options to play in midfield are quite limited at the moment therefore he could hand a return to the starting XI to Pogba on Sunday.