EUROPEAN FOOTBALL

‘My feeling is not good’: Jose Mourinho rues Manchester United’s injury woes after Anderlecht win

The Reds’ 2-1 extra-time win came at the cost of injuries to defender Marcos Rojo and star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was not a happy man despite his team progressing to the semi-finals of the Europa League after a 2-1 extra-time win over Anderlecht on Thursday, which came at the cost of injuries to defender Marcos Rojo and star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The Portuguese said he does not feel good about both the injuries, but did not want to give a verdict until doctors had assessed them. Rojo was taken off on a stretcher halfway into the first half after injuring his knee, while Ibrahimovic hobbled off after falling heavily on his knee minutes before the game entered extra-time.

“I want to wait but my feeling is not good, for both,” Mourinho said, when asked how long the pair might be out. “I want to try to be optimistic, but I’m not. I don’t think they are easy injuries but I prefer to wait until all the tests are done tomorrow. After tomorrow then I can speak what I feel because I am a manager, not a doctor.”

The injury to Rojo means that Eric Bailly is the only one out of United’s four central defenders who is currently not carrying an injury. Mourinho asked for Chris Smalling, who also has a knee problem, and Phil Jones, who is nursing a toe injury, to step up for the team’s cause.

“We have Daley Blind, and it is time for Jones and Smalling to be brave, to risk, because for the team you have the do everything,” he said. Asked how soon Smalling and Jones might return, Mourinho said jokingly, “If it was me, tomorrow. But no, they cannot do miracles. But rather than mid-May make it early May.”

‘Dream to win’

United were stretched by Anderlecht on Thursday, despite opening the scoring early via Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the 10th minute. The Belgian side equalised via Sofiane Hanni in the first half itself, before the two teams battled it out for the rest of regulation time in search of a winner. In the end, United needed an extra-time winner from Marcus Rashford to seal the tie, but not before experiencing some nervy moments with the Belgians throwing the kitchen sink at them.

“It was a difficult game, a difficult opponent,” Mourinho said. “I am tired, I imagine the players are more tired than me, but we are in the [semi-final] draw [on Friday] and we still have the dream to win the competition.”

United joined Ajax, Lyon, and Celta Vigo in the last four of the competition, with Mourinho saying neither of those opponents will be easy to play considering Anderlecht’s spirited display. “We had [on Thursday] an example of how difficult it is [in the Europa League] and we now have a Spanish team, a French team and Ajax [in the semi-final draw], so we are not expecting anything easy.”

Mourinho also reiterated that United will battle for Champions League on both fronts – the Premier League and the Europa League. United currently lie fifth in the Premier League table, four points behind fourth-place Manchester City, with a game in hand. The Red Devils travel to Burnley on Sunday in the Premier League.

“We keep trying,” Mourinho said. “While mathematically it is possible [to finish in the top four] in the Premier League, we have to fight for it. If one day it is not mathematically possible we have to put everything in the Europa League because the Europa League is an important title and on top of that the bonus of playing in the Champions League.”

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Ten awesome TV shows to get over your post-GoT blues

With those withdrawal symptoms kicking in, all you need is a good rebound show.

Hangovers tend to have a debilitating effect on various human faculties, but a timely cure can ease that hollow feeling generally felt in the pit of the stomach. The Game of Thrones Season 7 finale has left us with that similar empty feeling, worsened by an official statement on the 16-month-long wait to witness The Great War. That indeed is a long time away from our friends Dany, Jon, Queen C and even sweet, sweet Podrick. While nothing can quite replace the frosty thrill of Game of Thrones, here’s a list of awesome shows, several having won multiple Emmy awards, that are sure to vanquish those nasty withdrawal symptoms:

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It’s a distinct possibility that your first impressions of this show, whether you form those from the trailer or opening sequence, will make you think this is just another sun-kissed and glossy Californian drama. Until, the dark theme of BLL descends like an eerie mist, that is. With the serious acting chops of Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman as leads, this murder mystery is one of a kind. Adapted from author Liane Moriarty’s book, this female-led show has received accolades for shattering the one-dimensional portrayal of women on TV. Despite the stellar star cast, this Emmy-nominated show wasn’t easy to make. You should watch Big Little Lies if only for Reese Witherspoon’s long struggle to get it off the ground.

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At its heart, Empire is a simple show about a family business. It just so happens that this family business is a bit different from the sort you are probably accustomed to, because this business entails running a record label, managing artistes and when push comes to shove, dealing with rivals in a permanent sort of manner. Empire treads some unique ground as a fairly violent show that also happens to be a musical. Lead actors Taraji P Henson and Terrence Howard certainly make it worth your while to visit this universe, but it’s the constantly evolving interpersonal relations and bevy of cameo appearances that’ll make you stay. If you’re a fan of hip hop, you’ll enjoy a peek into the world that makes it happen. Hey, even if you aren’t one, you might just grow fond of rap and hip hop.

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7. Modern Family

When everything else fails, it’s comforting to know that the family will always be there to lift your spirits and keep you chuckling. And by the family we mean the Dunphys, Pritchetts and Tuckers, obviously. Modern Family portrays the hues of familial bonds with an honesty that most family shows would gloss over. Eight seasons in, the show’s characters like Gloria and Phil Dunphy have taken on legendary proportions in their fans’ minds as they navigate their relationships with relentless bumbling humour. If you’re tired of irritating one-liners or shows that try too hard, a Modern Family marathon is in order. This multiple-Emmy-winning sitcom is worth revisiting, especially since the brand new season 9 premiers on 28th September 2017.

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8. The Deuce

Headlined by James Franco and Maggi Gyllenhaal, The Deuce is not just about the dazzle of the 1970s, with the hippest New York crowd dancing to disco in gloriously flamboyant outfits. What it IS about is the city’s nooks and crannies that contain its underbelly thriving on a drug epidemic. The series portrays the harsh reality of New York city in the 70s following the legalisation of the porn industry intertwined with the turbulence caused by mob violence. You’ll be hooked if you are a fan of The Wire and American Hustle, but keep in mind it’s grimmer and grittier. The Deuce offers a turbulent ride which will leave you wanting more.

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9. Dexter

In case you’re feeling vengeful, you can always get the spite out of your system vicariously by watching Dexter, our favourite serial killer. This vigilante killer doesn’t hide behind a mask or a costume, but sneaks around like a criminal, targeting the bad guys that have slipped through the justice system. From its premier in 2006 to its series finale in 2013, the Emmy-nominated Michael C Hall, as Dexter, has kept fans in awe of the scientific precision in which he conducts his kills. For those who haven’t seen the show, the opening credits give an accurate glimpse of how captivating the next 45 minutes will be. If it’s been a while since you watched in awe as the opening credits rolled, maybe you should revisit the world’s most loved psychopath for nostalgia’s sake.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Hotstar and not by the Scroll editorial team.