Group A: Manchester United faces Russian test without Fellaini

Away to CSKA Moscow, Mourinho will also have to do without Paul Pogba and Michael Carrick with Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera the only fit senior central midfielders Manchester United has at its disposal.

Published : Sep 26, 2017 19:21 IST

Mourinho will hope Fellaini won't be missed too much.
Mourinho will hope Fellaini won't be missed too much.

Mourinho will hope Fellaini won't be missed too much.

Going into Matchday 2 as the table topper, albeit on goal difference, Manchester United will start favourite as it travels to Russia to face CSKA Moscow on the back of an impressive vicotry over FC Basel. However, Mourinho's side will travel without key midfielder Marouane Fellaini after the Belgian was ruled out through injury.

Fellaini did not travel for the Group A game in Moscow after being caught on the back of his ankle by Shane Long during United's 1-0 win at Southampton on Saturday.

Mourinho will also have to do without Paul Pogba and Michael Carrick, and the Portuguese manager suggested Craig Pawson, who refereed the match at Southampton, would have sent Long off had he had a better view of the incident.

"For me Craig Pawson is one of the big refereeing talents in England," Mourinho told reporters at CSKA's VEB Arena on Tuesday.

"He had an amazing game in my opinion. He was so calm, so much in control. He had a great performance. After, I watched it on television -- no camera for Craig -- and he made that decision, so decision made.

"Fellaini was lucky. It could be a much worse situation, but in a moment where we don't have Pogba and Carrick, Marouane becomes even more important than he always is.

"Not to be here tomorrow is a difficult situation for us. But I expect Fellaini not to be out for a long time.

"After Crystal Palace there is the international break and Belgium was the first team to qualify (for the World Cup), so (they are) not even under pressure for a special big match. So hopefully he will be back for us."

With Pogba, Fellaini and Carrick all missing, Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera are Mourinho's only fit senior central midfielders while the versatile Daley Blind and youngster Scott McTominay could also be options.

In defence, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia reportedly did not travel to Moscow.

In the other fixture, Swiss side Basel will aim to recover from its 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford as it hosts Portuguese champion Benfica, which also recorded a defeat (1-0) in the first game against CSKA.

Opta numbers:

CSKA Moscow v Manchester United:

4 – Manchester United has drawn four of its last five away games against Russian opposition, although manager Jose Mourinho has a good record against CSKA, having beaten it in five of his last six meetings with it, drawing the other.

40 – Excluding qualifiers, CSKA goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev has failed to keep a clean sheet in his last 40 Champions League games, the longest-ever run for a goalkeeper in the competition.

Basel v Benfica:

11 - Basel is winless in its last 11 Champions League games (D4 L7), its longest drought in the tournament. Across that barren run, it has never scored more than one goal in a game.

13 – Benfica has scored in 13 consecutive group-stage games. However, it has only kept one clean sheet in its last 10 Champions League away fixtures.

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