The Manchester Evening News spent the morning stalking José Mourinho and his players as they made their customary trip to the prestigious Lowry Hotel in anticipation of this evening’s Europa League clash with Ukrainian outfit Zorya Luhansk at Old Trafford. Most interestingly, two players were conspicuous by their absence: Memphis and David de Gea.
Of course, you may think de Gea’s absence doesn’t come as a great surprise: though he did start in the opening game away at Feyenoord, it would be expected that Mourinho would take the opportunity in (what should be) the easiest match of the group to give Sergio Romero a run out. It would be possible to read even more into Memphis’ absence: he’s failed to impress in his limited minutes this season, and it could be a sign his days at Old Trafford are numbered.
And, sure enough, both of these things may well be true. But the MEN also include this interesting detail:
Whereas Louis van Gaal almost always prepared for games with an 18-man squad, Mourinho doesn't. All 25 first-team squad members travelled to London for the Community Shield and 20 made the short trip to Hull, with Sam Johnstone and Matteo Darmian the unlucky duo forced to sit in the stands.
That could well mean that de Gea and Memphis have picked up injuries, and will sit out the match alongside Phil Jones, Luke Shaw and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Daley Blind and Paul Pogba were not spotted by the MEN's eagle-eyed photographers, though Pogba lives in the Lowry and Blind just around the corner, so they’re still expected to play some part.