Manchester United star Juan Mata will likely miss the rest of the season.
Juan Mata looks set to miss the rest of the season for Manchester United, after Jose Mourinho admitted he expects the Spaniard to be out until the end of May.
Mata is the second highest scorer this season for Manchester United with 10 goals, but has been out since the end of last month due to undergoing groin surgery.
After his sides 1-1 draw in the Europa League against Anderlecht, Mourinho touched briefly on the topic when asked about possible return dates for Mata, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling.
“Late May,” Mourinho said of Mata. “And Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, mid-May.”
“There is nothing I can do [about the current defensive situation],” Mourinho said. “They [Bailly and Rojo] have to go until the limits. There is no other choice. We don’t have any other central defenders. They have to go. There is no other chance.
“If we arrived in a situation in the Premier League, I hope not, where mathematically the top four is not possible, then it’s an easy decision. Rest them and go with them in the Europa League – if we are still in the competition.
“But, in this moment, we are in this situation where we have two matches in hand and if we win both matches, we are in the top four. We have to fight for every game, so it’s amazing mentality by Eric and by Marcos, but we have to go.”
The United boss also spoke on the next challenge for his side, as they take on league leaders Chelsea, with Mourinho looking for his first victory over his old club as United boss.
“You say it’s emotional but, for me, it’s a game,” he asserted. “It’s one more game. No different for me. Not at all.
“[To compare the two teams] first of all, some guys are fresh, some guys are tired and that’s very important. But they are top for some reasons – it’s not just because they are fresh. It is also because they have individual quality. It’s because they have collective quality. They have a certain style of play. They stick to it. They do it very well. So they are a very strong team.”