Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata has undergone groin surgery, effectively ruling out the 28-year-old from competitive action for the next couple of weeks, an official statement by the club said.
The news comes at the worst possible time for Jose Mourinho, as his injury list seems to be growing ahead of their English Premier League clash with West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
The Portuguese tactician had already confirmed that Paul Pogba, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones will not be fit for Saturday’s home clash with the Baggies, which means several of United’s fringe players will have to be called into action.
Bastian Schweinsteiger completed his move to MLS club Chicago fire this week and with Ander Herrera and Zlatan Ibrahimovic both suspended, United are looking a little short in midfield.
West Bromwich are flying high in the Premier League at the moment, in 9th place and will fancy their chances against a wounded Red Devils side, who cannot afford to slip up as they seek to finish in the top four.
The diminutive Mata, who has flitted in and out of the first team at United this season, has managed to score 10 goals (all competitions) and his side will miss the Spaniard's creative talents in midfield, especially with Pogba and Herrera unavailable.
The Red Devils play nine games in April alone, with seven domestic games and a two-legged tie against Belgian side Anderlecht sure to test the strengths of Mourinho’s bench. The only possible silver lining for the United faithful is that skipper Wayne Rooney has a chance to stake his claim for a starting berth in the wake of their injury-crisis in midfield.