MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho said on Wednesday he was “very positive” the club’s former manager Alex Ferguson would return to full health after suffering a brain haemorrhage.
Ferguson had emergency surgery last weekend which United said had gone “extremely well” and the 76-year-old is recovering from the operation in intensive care.
Speaking ahead of United’s Premier League trip to West Ham United on Thursday, Mourinho was reluctant to discuss Ferguson’s health in detail out of respect for his family’s privacy but was confident the Scot would make a full recovery.
“His family ask for privacy and that’s what I am going to respect,” Mourinho told reporters. “But we are positive, very positive. We are confident.”
When asked if Ferguson’s condition would have an impact on the team, Mourinho said: “No, I can only think that if there is any relation it is a positive relation.”
United have already qualified for next season’s Champions League and just need a point to guarantee finishing in second place behind arch-rivals and title winners Manchester City who were presented with the Premier League trophy at the weekend.
Mourinho said striker Romelu Lukaku will miss United’s trip to West Ham and Sunday’s final match of the season at home to Watford but added that it was “possible” the Belgian would be fit for the FA Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley on May 19.
Lukaku, United’s top scorer with 27 goals this season, suffered a foot injury in a league win over Arsenal last month.
His compatriot Marouane Fellaini, who started last week’s 1-0 league defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion, will also miss the trip to the London Stadium with a muscular problem.
“Lukaku will not play in the last league game of the season,” Mourinho added. “Fellaini might (play against Watford)... it is a muscular problem. We will wait and see.”
United captain Michael Carrick, who is set to retire at the end of the season and join Mourinho’s coaching staff, will make his farewell appearance against Watford this weekend.
The 36-year-old midfielder has won five Premier League titles, the Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup, three League Cup trophies and the Club World Cup since joining United from Tottenham Hotspur in 2006.
“He will start the last match, at Old Trafford, the last match of the Premier League, our captain in front of our fans, he will start the match against Watford,” Mourinho said.
“Some guys prefer to study, go to youth football, but in this situation, we decided the bridge can be that bridge — (he can) change shirts, dressing rooms and offices and start to be an assistant.”
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris