Mourinho rules duo out of festive fixtures

Dec 22, 2017 - 5:12 PM Jose Mourinho has ruled Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick out of Manchester United's frantic Christmas fixture schedule but said Zlatan Ibrahimovic could make his first Premier League start since April.

Saturday's trip to Leicester kicks off a run of four matches in 10 days - a crucial time as the Red Devils look to claw back Manchester City's eye-watering 11-point lead.

Antonio Valencia is out of the Foxes clash and United will have to do without Eric Bailly during Christmas and beyond with an ankle injury, while midfielders Carrick and Fellaini also look set to miss the festive period.

Carrick has not played since undergoing a procedure to treat an irregular heart rhythm following September's League Cup win against Burton, while Fellaini - in the midst of prolonged contract negotiations - has not played since November 25.

"(Fellaini) is not available," Mourinho said.

"Michael Carrick, (also) no."

The news was better on the Ibrahimovic front, though Mourinho said the enigmatic Swede was unlikely to last a full 90 minutes.

"Yes, he's an option," he said. "He played one hour (in the midweek League Cup loss to Bristol City), a bit more. He could be ready to start the match.

"Ninety minutes is probably too much, it depends on the match. I think he's ready to start."

Mourinho was not giving much away ahead of the trip to Leicester, where United need to get back to winning ways to keep their fading title hopes alive.

"I don't know (what the expectations are)," he said.

"You say, you are the ones, not me.

"The expectation is to go to every match and to try to win, which is what we do.

"The matches we lost, we fought until the last second. The matches we lost if I'm not wrong we lost 2-1, 2-1, 1-0, so we really manage to fight in every match to try for the best result.

"And there is nothing more than that we can do, we can promise. We go to every match and do our best."

Source: AAP

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