Football: With United dressing room full of wounded men, Mourinho wants others to return early

Jose Mourinho has called on players including Jesse Lingard (second from left) to cut short their holidays.
Jose Mourinho has called on players including Jesse Lingard (second from left) to cut short their holidays.PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/JESSELINGARD

MICHIGAN (THE TIMES, LONDON) - Jose Mourinho has called on players such as Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard to cut short their holidays to help their struggling Manchester United team-mates.

The manager's farcical pre-season continued on Sunday (July 29), when he confirmed after a bruising 4-1 loss to Liverpool that Nemanja Matic would miss the start of the season with an abdominal injury.

Marcus Rashford and Phil Jones will report to Carrington this week ahead of schedule to help United avoid a slow start to the English Premier League season, and Mourinho wants some of the other players who made the last four of the World Cup to follow suit.

"I hope that the boys on deserved holidays take care of themselves a bit and that somebody wants to do what Rashford and Phil Jones decided to do, which is to be back a bit earlier to try to help the team because for the beginning of the season we are going to be in trouble," the Portuguese said.

United will round off their pre-season campaign with a friendly against Real Madrid in Miami on Tuesday (July 31) and a trip to Germany to take on Bayern Munich on Sunday.

Mourinho faces the possibility of ending the pre-season tour of the United States with another heavy defeat, as up to 17 players could miss their International Champions Cup game against Real.

Pogba and Lukaku are on holiday in Los Angeles. Ashley Young, Lingard and Marouane Fellaini are also on extended breaks having made the World Cup semi-finals with England and Belgium.

The injury to Serbia's World Cup midfielder Matic, who is now back in England after surgery, is another blow to Mourinho, who lost captain Antonio Valencia to a calf injury earlier in the tour.

Mourinho also lambasted Anthony Martial for failing to return to the US to help his weary team-mates after the birth of his second child in France last week.

Luke Shaw missed the Liverpool defeat with an unspecified problem, Chris Smalling pulled up in the warm-up with a slight injury and was replaced by Eric Bailly, whose ankle swelled up after the match, making him a doubt for the next game. Ander Herrera also suffered an ankle injury against Liverpool.

Diogo Dalot, the £19 million (S$34 million) summer signing from Porto, is out until September with a knee issue and Marcos Rojo is back at Carrington for treatment on an injury he suffered at the World Cup with Argentina.

Sergio Romero, the back-up goalkeeper, also has a knee injury.