By Simon Evans
MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says he is getting closer to a full strength squad with several players back in training ahead of Monday’s Premier League clash with Tottenham Hotspur.
Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic and Ecuadorean full back Antonio Valencia have yet to play this season while Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez missed Sunday’s loss at Brighton & Hove Albion.
All three have been back on the training ground along with Portuguese full back Diogo Dalot, who underwent an operation shortly before signing for the club in the close season.
Mourinho said he was not yet sure which, if any, of those players would feature against Spurs.
“I don’t know because today is still Friday and we are training on Saturday and Sunday, and the match is on Monday,” he said.
“Decisions to be made on Sunday but yes, they are training with the team. Dalot is also training with the team for the first time this week, so in terms of the medical department, they are almost free,” he added.
Mourinho was far from expansive in his answers to questions from the press about the situation at the club and their form so far.
“I feel we played well against Leicester (City) and we won. I feel we played bad against Brighton and we lost,” he said, adding that against Tottenham he hoped his team would: “play well and win, don’t make mistakes, play well and win. That is what we want.”
Mourinho ignored questions about media criticism of him and his team saying he read less than 10 percent of what was written in newspapers and the same for television punditry.
“I’m not the right guy to answer,” he said and he was equally tight-lipped when asked to evaluate central defenders Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof’s performances.
“I don’t analyse with you my players” he added.
The former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager also bluntly denied any rift with the club’s chief executive Ed Woodward and declined to comment on midfielder Paul Pogba’s statement that he and the team’s attitude was not right in the 3-2 defeat at Brighton.
“Paul has to answer by his words. If you want any explanation about Paul’s words you must get him and ask him,” Mourinho said.
(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Christian Radnedge)