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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football Briefs: Mourinho worried by United's 'very bad' pre-season

Football Briefs: Mourinho worried by United's 'very bad' pre-season

July 19, 2018 14:56 IST

Jose Mourinho

IMAGE: Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho reacts. Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is worried by the absence of key players from the club’s pre-season training camp in the United States, saying that the situation was 'very bad' ahead of the Premier League campaign.

United are without several World Cup participants, including France’s Paul Pogba, Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku and Marouane Fellaini, and England’s Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford among others, as they rest following a gruelling tournament.

 

Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez is also absent from the camp due to visa issues.

“The pre-season is very bad, the positive thing of the pre-season is only for the young boys that have a fantastic opportunity to train with us,” Mourinho told reporters.

“I’m worried because I’m not training (with everyone) and then I go to the Premier League without lots of players, but it is what it is and we have to try and make the best out of it with the players we have here.

“I’m not worried about playing Liverpool here or Real Madrid or Milan... I’m not worried if we lose badly.”

United will play two friendlies, starting with Club America on Friday, ahead of next week’s International Champions Cup tournament, where they will face domestic rivals Liverpool, Champions League winners Real Madrid and Italy’s AC Milan.

The Old Trafford side also play a friendly against German champions Bayern Munich on Aug. 5, five days before they kick off their league campaign against Leicester City.

Manchester United defender Dalot ruled out until September

Manchester United defender Diogo Dalot will miss the start of the Premier League season due to a knee injury, manager Jose Mourinho has said.

The 19-year-old, who joined United on a five-year contract last month, sustained the injury while playing for former club FC Porto in the closing stages of last season.

“Dalot is injured; we knew that but we didn’t want to lose him because of that,” Mourinho told reporters during the club’s pre-season tour.

“He will not be ready for the start of the season but we think he’ll be ready for September.”

Fellow fullback Luke Shaw was restricted to 11 league appearances last term but says he is eager to prove he could still have a future at Old Trafford despite entering the final year of his contract.

Jack Wilshere hoping to boost England chances with West Ham move

Jack Wilshere hopes his move to West Ham United from Arsenal will rekindle his international career.

The 26-year-old ended his 17-year stay at Arsenal last month after injuries and poor form saw him slip down the pecking order in recent seasons.

He failed to make England’s squad for the World Cup and won his last cap in 2016.

“That’s a big reason why I stayed in the Premier League. I’ve always said before, I love playing for my country, I’m proud to do it and it’s been a while since I’ve done it,” Wilshere was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.

Wilshere could make his West Ham debut when they face Preston North End in the third of their seven pre-season fixtures on Saturday.

Zola returns to Chelsea as Sarri's assistant

Former Chelsea striker Gianfranco Zola has returned to the club as assistant to new manager Maurizio Sarri, the Premier League side said on Wednesday.

Zola spent seven years at Stamford Bridge as a player, scoring 80 goals and helping the club win two FA Cups, one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, a UEFA Super Cup and one League Cup.

“For me it is an amazing thing,” Zola said in a club statement, which described the former Italy international as one of Chelsea’s “all-time greatest players”.

“I am very willing to work hard because it is going to be a difficult challenge but I am pleased to be here, and to work hard with Maurizio to be successful.”

Fellow Italian Sarri was appointed last week to replace compatriot Antonio Conte, who was sacked, a year after leading the team to the title, after Chelsea failed to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Sarri, the 59-year-old former Napoli boss, had his first news conference on Wednesday in which he said he wanted to keep Belgian forward Eden Hazard at the club and improve him as a player.

Zola’s coaching career has seen him manage West Ham United, Watford and Italian side Cagliari.

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