Mourinho frustrated by injuries, lack of signings
ANN ARBOR, Michigan — Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho revealed his frustration at a lack of new signings and a lengthening injury list after a heavy 4-1 defeat to Liverpool in Michigan.
Mourinho questioned why he is still waiting for a new arrival — sources have told ESPN FC that it is a centre-back — despite handing in a list of five targets “a few months ago.”
He said Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw have been added to his injury list while revealing that Nemanja Matic has undergone surgery for a mystery problem and could miss the start of the season.
“I would like to have two more players,” Mourinho told a news conference on Saturday at Michigan Stadium.
“I think I am not going to have two. I think [it] is possible I am going to have one. It is possible, and that one I gave a list to my club five names a few months ago, and I wait to see if it’s possible to have one of these players.
“If it’s possible, it’s possible. If it’s not, it’s not. If it’s possible, good. If it is not possible, we keep fighting and working and believing in the players that we have.”
Antonio Valencia has already been sent home from the United States with a calf injury, and new signing Diogo Dalot has been ruled out until September with a knee problem.
Matic, Sergio Romero, Smalling and Shaw missed the defeat to Liverpool through injury, while Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Victor Lindelof, Marcos Rojo, Marouane Fellaini, Ashley Young, Phil Jones, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford have yet to return to training following the World Cup.
“This is nothing to do with reinforcements,” Mourinho said. “The reinforcement is Pogba, Fellaini, Lindelof, Rashford, Lingard, Matic, Valencia — these are reinforcements.
“This is not our team, not our squad. We start the game with almost half of the players [who] aren’t going to belong to our squad. This is not our squad.
“Reinforcements, you are saying players I’d like to buy, add to the squad. That is another thing, but this is not even 30 percent of my squad, so don’t look to this that way.”
Matic is now a doubt for the opening game of the Premier League season against Leicester on Aug. 10 at Old Trafford after undergoing surgery in Philadelphia.
Mourinho said: “He came from [the] World Cup with an injury, and the time he had to rest in the holiday was not enough to resolve the problem. He went to see a top world specialist in relation to these kinds of injuries, and he didn’t leave the clinic. He had immediate surgery not to lose more time, so no Matic.”
Smalling added to the injury list by pulling up in the warm-up at the Big House, having initially been named in the team.
Eric Bailly, who picked up a knock against AC Milan on Wednesday in Los Angeles, stepped in, but afterward, Mourinho said the Ivory Coast defender was “not a leader.”
“I don’t think he’s a leader,” Mourinho said. “I don’t think anything goes to change with that.
“I think he’s a team boy, a great boy and an honest man, honest to put everything for the team, and that is why we still have him and why he is going to stay with us because football teams need people like him and [Ander] Herrera, these kinds of players where the club is more important than anything else.”