The duo defender Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw have been ruled out of Manchester United’s clash with Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

United boss Jose Mourinho confirmed the duo would not be ready for the match at Old Trafford due to injury.

When asked whether Smalling and Shaw could return, he simply said: “Not Sunday, no.”

Coach Jose Mourinho is obviously concerned about his options in defence since Eric Bailly is set to play in the Africa Cup of Nations in January.

“Let’s hope Smalling can recover in time to replace him in the squad because, with so many matches, we need players.

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“At the moment, we have Phil Jones, Bailly and Marcos Rojo [as centre-backs].

“We play Tottenham, West Brom and Reading, West Ham away [among others] – in that period we have a lot of matches and it is important to have players.” He added

After  being left behind for the Europa League trip to Ukraine, Matteo Darmian, Antonio Valencia and Michael Carrick will all be available for the clash.

It was projected that England international Wayne Rooney could also return after serving his domestic suspension and David De Gea is expected to replace Sergio Romero in goal.

Manchester United will be determined to win and close the 13 point gap to Premier League leaders Chelsea. They are also trailing Tottenham by six points as they look to force their way into the top four.

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