MANCHESTER UNITED UPDATE

Ibrahimovic and Pogba

MANCHESTER UNITED UPDATE

Manchester United v Newcastle United

Manchester United superstars Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba will return to the Manchester United squad for Saturday's Premier League game against Newcastle at Old Trafford. Striker Ibrahimovic, 36, is yet to play this season after suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury in April. Pogba is back after two months on the sidelines with hamstring trouble. Phil Jones looks certain to miss out after being injured in England's friendly against Germany.

Provisional Man Utd squad: De Gea, Romero, Pereira, Valencia, Darmian, Tuanzebe, Bailly, Lindelof, Rojo, Smalling, Blind, Shaw, Young, Pogba, Matic, Herrera, McTominay, Mata, Mkhitaryan, Lukaku, Ibrahimovic, Rashford, Martial.

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Going into Premier League matchweek 12, after the international break, Manchester United host Newcastle United at Old Trafford on Saturday, November 18. Man United manager Jose Mourinho's team went into the international break following a 1-0 league defeat by holding England Premier League champions Chelsea which left them second in the standings, eight points behind leaders and cross-town rivals Manchester City.

 

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Today Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho revealed that Marcos Rojo, Paul Pogba, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are all in contention to face Newcastle in the Premier League at the Aon Training Complex on Friday afternoon. Asked specifically which players with long-term injuries are set to return against the Magpies at Old Trafford, Mourinho response was surprising to the press. 

 

“The players that stayed here and were recovering from injuries, even the ones that are recovering from big injuries, they are ready to play,” declared United boss Mourinho. “Pogba, Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo.”

 

Rojo has not played a senior match since the UEFA Europa League tie against Anderlecht on 20 April, but the Argentina international made an appearance for United's Under-23s on Wednesday night. Ibrahimovic has not featured since the same European game with Anderlecht. 

 

"He made a full recovery," Jose told reporters in his Friday pre-match press conference. "Now you cannot expect him to be ready to play 90 minutes or to be ready to play consecutive matches like he did all his career. Now he needs time to be back to his level, his fitness, his confidence, his sharpness, his everything. But, from the clinical point of view, to be good and ready is fantastic."

 

Pogba has been out since the opening UEFA Champions League Group A clash against Basel on 12 September.

 

"You can clearly see Manchester United this season before Paul's injury and after Paul's injury. It's as simple as that," added Mourinho.

 

Manchester United's injured players took advantage of the international break to regain fitness and key squad members got much-needed rest. United midfielders Michael Carrick (calf) and Paul Pogba (hamstring) have been out with injury since September while long-term absentees Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo, who sustained knee injuries last season, are still recovering.

 

“We have the group of players which are the ones that we hope will recover as soon as possible,” Mourinho said. “They have to work every day but they are in a good position now. Pogba, Ibrahimovic, Rojo, Fellaini. They are in good positions so I think we can go into this part of the season, the Christmas period, and after, in a strong position.”

 

United have won all four of their Champions League games and are close to qualifying for the knockout stages while also competing to retain the League Cup title. With nine matches to be played across all competitions in December, Mourinho said that his key players that were not selected for their national teams for this month's friendlies would get a well-earned break.

 

“The international players all disappear and then we have a couple like Chris Smalling and Ander Herrera and they really deserve, after so many matches, to have a week off which I'm going to give them,” said Mourinho.

 

Reportedly, both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba may return to the Man United squad after resuming full training after recovering from their injuries. Both players are in contention for a spot on the bench when Jose Mourinho's men host Newcastle United on this weekend. Pogba has not played since September 12 in a Champions League clash with Basle. Ibrahimovic has been out since April with a cruciate ligament injury. The return to action of the two superstars is a major boost for their boss Mourinho. Manchester United are eight points off Manchester City at the top of the Premier League and host Basle in the Champions League next week, needing only a point to reach the knock-out stage. Pogba, United's record signing at £89million in the summer of 2016, has been a made a strong start to the season before his injury - limping off in a Champions League clash. Pogba was dangerous in the opening four league games of the league campaign, partnering well with new signing Nemanja Matic. Ibrahimovic was released in the summer after his injury looked to have terminated his Manchester United career when his one-year contract expired. Ibra has re-signed at Old Trafford and could make an appearance on Saturday ahead of his scheduled recovery.

 

Looking forward to his Manchester United return after a torn cruciate knee ligament, thirty-six-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic will surprise anyone who thinks the injury will have robbed him of his scoring powers in a serious setback. However, Ibra has lost none of his confidence and swagger, seven months after landing awkwardly trying to control a pass with his chest against Anderlecht in the Europa League in April. Ibrahimovic may be named as a sub at Old Trafford against Newcastle on Saturday. Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he will be better than before when he returns to Manchester United after being sidelined for seven months with a cruciate knee ligament injury.

 

“I’m determined to return better and stronger than before,” Ibrahimovic said. “That is my goal and it will happen. There are no other options. When I’ve decided to do something, nothing is going to change my mind. I said I would take over Sweden. At breakfast, I had already taken over Sweden. At lunch, I took over Europe. At dinner, I took over the world. That was my plan. And that is exactly what happened.”

 

Upon being diagnosed with a torn cruciate, Ibracadebra was originally expected to be out until 2018, however his Manchester United return will almost certainly be way ahead of schedule whether or not he plays against Newcastle. Zlatan said he was stunned after being injured and wondered if he would be able to make it back. He felt 'paralyzed' after being confined to his bed.

 

“I have never been hurt but then I felt I swallowed my tongue. It was a strange feeling I had never known before,” said Zlatan. “Thoughts started spinning in my head. What’s happening? I am 36 what can I do? What does the future hold? Instead of focusing one thing at a time, like normally, a lot of things were spinning around in my mind. The first thing I said to myself was "giving up is not an alternative". I have come this far and will finish on my terms, not anyone else's. I’ve got new scars that could be called tattoos. They will be memories for life. I’ll always remember what happened, what I’ve gone through and what I’ve been fighting for.

 

'I remember being on crutches and lying in bed for 12 hours a day, feeling paralyzed when you are used to playing and exercising every day. I am the kind of person who is always training a lot. Hard work gives you something in return, that is my philosophy.'

Meanwhile, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is not giving up on twenty-nine-year-old Marouane Fellaini despite him not renewing his contract extension on a £120,000-a-week deal. United hope to tempt Marouane Fellaini to remain at Old Trafford after United activated the Belgian midfielder's 12-month contract option last year. Fellaini refused to sign a contract extension and will be free to talk to foreign clubs in January. The 29-year-old midfielder could leave United as a free agent next summer. Man United does not plan on selling Fellaini in January even though the Belgium midfielder rejected a new contract at Old Trafford. Fellaini who turns 30 next week, only has seven-and-a-half months left on his current £120,000-a-week deal for the former Everton star in the next transfer window. United triggered the 12-month option on Fellaini's deal a year ago but he refused their offer of new terms in September. Popular Fellaini is in a strong position at United, a notable turnaround for the footballer who became a symbol of the failed manager David Moyes era after joining his old boss Moyes at United when he moved from Everton for £27.5million in 2013. At his lowest point, Fellaini was even booed by some supporters who refused to accept him as a United player possibly due to his size and playing style. In contrast, the Belgian has become a key part of Jose Mourinho's side after re-establishing himself under Moyes’ replacement, Louis van Gaal. Fellaini has taken his game to an even higher level under his new boss Jose Mourinho who has praised the player's strength of character.

 

“I always trusted Marouane since day one and try to give him confidence and show him how useful he is for the team,' said Mourinho. “I think only a strong character could resist the difficulties here. He had some difficult times when people didn't recognize his qualities when other managers didn't like so much the qualities he has. He is a fighter, a guy with lots of pride and I am really pleased I helped him reach this level and change the perception the fans have now.” 

 

Surprisingly, Marouane Fellaini is suing New Balance for £2.1million claiming their boots are causing 'considerable damage' to his feet. The Belgium international signed a four-year deal with the sportswear giants back in 2012 but has taken them to court following the pain he claims the boots have caused his feet and has now walked away from the £600,000-a-year deal with New Balance and changing to Nike footwear before last season. Fellaini appeared in London's High Court to demand damages. Fellaini issued a writ which stated the 'poor quality' boots needed to be 'steamed and stretched' by the kitman before the midfielder was able to play in them. The United striker claimed his feet were subjected to 'considerable damage' when he wore the boots and he 'repeatedly communicated his frustration' to the manufacturers. Fellaini's legal team have said that they are also suing for 'loss of employment, inconvenience and impact on performance' due to the damage the boots are claimed to have inflicted. In response, the boot-makers claim in court papers that their client, Fellaini, once described the boots as 'perfect' and ordered 12 more pairs. 

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez will be without two key men. Central defender Jamaal Lascelles (ankle) and winger Christian Atsu (thigh) are both sidelined, with the latter likely to be out of action for at least two weeks. Goalkeeper Rob Elliot, who sat out the Republic of Ireland's play-off against Denmark because of a family bereavement, is available, while full-back Paul Dummett (hamstring) is back in training and midfielder Mikel Merino is due to return from a back problem.

Provisional Newcastle squad: Elliot, Darlow, Yedlin, Manquillo, Mbemba, Gamez, Haidara, Clark, Lejeune, Hayden, Shelvey, Saivet, Ritchie, Murphy, Aarons, Diame, Perez, Joselu, Gayle, Mitrovic.

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