Manchester United have been handed a massive injury boost ahead of their FA Cup tie with Derby County as manager Jose Mourinho revealed that striker Romelu Lukaku has recovered ahead of time to face the Championship side on Friday night.
“Romelu is back, Romelu is back,” Mourinho told MUTV on Thursday.
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Lukaku had been involved in a sickening, albeit accidental clash of heads with Southampton defender Wesley Hoedt early on in their Premier League clash on Saturday and had to be stretchered off with oxygen support.
It appears the injury wasn’t as bad as previously thought for Mourinho had stated he expected his summer signing to return to action after a week’s rest, expecting to welcome him back for a January 15 Premier League clash with Stoke City, not earlier.
“As I said it was not a concussion, it was a precaution, a protection for him. He wanted to play against Everton, but this time he is back,” Mourinho added.
After signing for United from Everton on a £75 million transfer in the summer, Lukaku has scored a total of 14 goals to emerge as the club’s top scorer.
And while United made do without the 24-year-old Belgian when they travelled to his former club for a mid-week Premier League clash on Monday night, with Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard netting in a 2-0 win, his long-term absence would have seen the Red Devils struggle to cope.
Especially with Zlatan Ibrahimovic sidelined for a month at least, United were a bit short of options up front and as they seek to avoid an upset against the Rams, the return of Lukaku bodes well for United.
Currently United are in three competitions (Premier League, UEFA Champions League and FA Cup) and while a treble is unrealistic, the Red Devils are expected to make a deep run in both the cups they are still in.