REUTERS - Manchester United will be without Nemanja Matic and Zlatan Ibrahimovic for Tuesday’s Champions League group match against CSKA Moscow at Old Trafford, manager Jose Mourinho said.
Serbian midfielder Matic limped off with a muscle problem at Watford last week but started in United’s 3-1 Premier League victory over Arsenal on Saturday.
Mourinho said he will not risk the 29-year-old for the match, with United requiring a point to secure top spot in Group A.
“Matic is injured and when I say he is injured, he is injured. I am not going to make him play tomorrow so Matic is out,” he told a news conference on Monday.
“A couple of others guys are playing every match and they also need a rest. More importantly, the others deserve an opportunity to play.”
Mourinho confirmed Ibrahimovic will be rested as a part of rehabilitation on his return from a long-term knee ligament injury.
The 36-year-old striker made four substitute appearances last month but was left out of the squad at Arsenal.
“Zlatan needs sometimes very hard work on the muscular area that supports the knee that had the problem,” Mourinho added.
“He was on this cycle of work, divided between the gym and the pitch. And he will be out again for tomorrow but I believe back to normal work after CSKA.”
Mourinho refused to discuss whether the club have appealed against Paul Pogba’s suspension after the midfielder received a straight red for a reckless challenge on Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin.
“He’s not suspended for the Champions League. He plays tomorrow,” Mourinho said.
“Of course, he’s a bit tired because it was a huge match at the weekend and just two days to recover for CSKA. But he’s very happy to play and to try to keep his momentum because since he was back from injury, he’s been phenomenal.”
United host leaders Manchester City on Sunday with an opportunity to cut the gap to five points at the top of the table.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond