Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has revealed Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford and Phil Jones are cutting short their holidays in order to be available for selection.
The aforementioned United players, plus Victor Lindelof, have been on extended breaks following the World Cup in Russia and the quartet were not expected to be available for the start of the season.
Lukaku and his United team-mates have cut short their holidays by three days to attempt to be ready to play as soon as possible, although it remains to be seen if they’ll make the Premier League opener against Leicester City on August 10.
Speaking after the Red Devils wrapped up their United States tour with a 2-1 win over Real Madrid in Miami on Tuesday, Mourinho told reporters: “My players, amazing in their effort.
“But we have more effort in front of us. We go to Munich in a few days and we start the Premier League in nine days.
“These are the players that we have, plus Lindelof, that started training two days ago, plus Marcus Rashford, Jones and Lukaku, because they gave to the group and to the team three days of their holidays, so they’re coming back three days early to try and be available for the team.”
Goals from @Alexis_Sanchez and @AnderHerrera seal victory in our final #ICC2018 outing! #MUFC pic.twitter.com/GaJXqReYHH
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 1, 2018
Mourinho has cut a frustrated figure during United’s pre-season, lamenting the absence of a number of his World Cup stars and the club’s lack of transfer activity.
As revealed by Goal, United have grown frustrated over Leicester’s asking price for Harry Maguire and are now considering an improved bid for Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld.
The Portuguese boss had reason to smile against Madrid, however, as Alexis Sanchez inspired United to victory at the International Champions Cup.
Sanchez opened the scoring for his second goal in three games before he turned provider for Ander Herrera prior to the interval, though Karim Benzema managed to pull a goal back for Real Madrid on the stroke of half-time.
Mourinho added: “My players will be in amazing condition. Sanchez is fresh, the way the man is running, I think he is in a fantastic condition. So let’s look at it from a positive side and wait for Lindelof, Rashford, Lukaku and Jones.
“They’re not prepared but they will be back and that’s the spirit we need because our first two or three weeks in the Premier League are going to be really hard for us because we didn’t prepare for that.
“We tried to organise the best possible team to defend against them,” Mourinho continued. “I was not working to prepare the team for the future of the Premier League, I was just trying to get the best possible result. We were just trying to survive.
“But the result of the game today is not important. If you play Real Madrid in the Champions League that result is important, not today.”
Mourinho also praised ICC organisers Relevent Sports after admitting he would not have paid to watch his undermanned United side on their US tour following last week’s 4-1 rout at the hands of Liverpool.
“I just want to say once more what I keep repeating: Relevent are the best in the world at organising pre-seasons and I feel really sorry we couldn’t give them more,” Mourinho said.
“I know Real Madrid would feel the same and would like to have here a world champion like [Raphael] Varane. They would like to have here Golden Ball winner Luka Modric, but it is what it is and it’s difficult for every club with lots of players in national team.”