Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho has confirmed that versatile player Wayne Rooney was not part of the team’s 3-1 victory over Sunderland on Boxing Day because to a thigh injury. The Portuguese tactician added that there are slim chances that Rooney will be back for the game against Middlesbrough on New Year’s Eve.

The red devils claimed all 3 points as they played host to Sunderland on Monday. Left-back Daley Blind opened the scoring door for Mourinho’s men before Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored two goals in the second half to give the team an easy win. United are currently on a five-match winning streak in all competitions.

Mourinho was however forced to omit the red devils captain from the squad to face the Black Cats. The England international reportedly got injured in training and was’nt confident of getting himself on the pitch.

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“Honestly, I don’t think so. I hope so. I would like to have him, he’s always a player I would like to have but I have my doubts. Let’s see the evolution [of the injury],” Mourinho explained, as quoted by United’s official website.

“It’s a strange muscle, a big muscle surrounded by others and you can have an injury there but still be able to move well. He was not feeling very confident. It’s not a big deal but, in four days, I have my doubts.”

Manchester United would face Middlesbrough in their upcoming EPL game on New Year Eve before another encounter with West Ham United on 2 January, just 2 days after.

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When he was asked by Sky Sports if Rooney was dropped due to the busy fixture list, Mourinho insisted that is not the issue for dropping him. :

“That’s not the problem. The problem for us is playing on the 31st and then the 2nd. That’s the problem for us as Manchester United. Sunderland have the privilege to play after that but for us that’s the problem.”

“He [Rooney] just felt a little thing in training yesterday [Christmas Day] and we all agreed that the best thing for him, and for us, was that he didn’t play today.”

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