INJURY CONCERNS HIT EPL TEAMS AS MAROUNE FELLAINI IS FORCED OFF ON INTERNATIONAL DUTY
Jose Mourinho’s and Manchester United’s injury crisis is mounting, with Marouane Fellaini a doubt for Manchester United’s home clash with Arsenal next weekend.
Fellaini suffered a calf injury during United’s 3-1 victory over Swansea but headed out to join the Belgium international team.
However, the midfielder was swiftly ruled out of the friendly against Holland on Wednesday evening and the clash against Estonia on Sunday.
Ordinarily, the Belgian team keep their players with them if the injury is thought to be minor but Fellaini was sent home to Manchester.
The 28-year-old now faces a race against the clock to make the Arsenal game, with Mourinho already without Antonio Valencia and Eric Bailly.
Doubts persist over Luke Shaw’s fitness and, as exclusively revealed by Sportsmail on Friday, Chris Smalling will be out for a month with a broken toe.
cross Manchester, Vincent Kompany was also ruled out of Belgium’s clash with Estonia in Brussels.
The City captain pulled out of the friendly with Holland minutes before kick-off and manager Roberto Martinez has vowed not to gamble with the fitness of the 30-year-old, who has made just four appearances this season.
‘Vincent had discomfort in his groin area,’ said Martinez. ‘He didn’t train on Friday and I am not going to take him into consideration for Sunday.
‘It is nothing new. We all know Vincent is so eager to help the group at club and international level but at the moment the only thing that matters is getting him back to full fitness.
We are going to be working very closely with his club but it is impossible to push him in a competitive game. The idea is to get him fully fit.’
Martinez revealed that Kompany, who has won 72 caps for his country, would stay with the Belgian squad until after Sunday night’s game to cushion the blow of his latest setback.
‘You can imagine his disappointment (on missing the Estonia match). He prepared really well. A player gets frustrated if he is not allowed to play football. He is going to stay with the group. He will join Manchester City on Monday.’
Kompany has had muscular problems for two years, mainly involving his calf, and City manager Pep Guardiola has admitted it has taken a mental toll on the central defender.
Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele is also a major doubt for Belgium. He missed training on Friday with a soft-tissue problem and Martinez said: ‘If he can’t train on Saturday, we cannot use him. But there won’t be any problem for the next game for Spurs. It will be a maximum of 48 hours.’
Belgium and Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has reassured fans over his fitness and put his badly bloodshot left eye down to being violently sick after a recent Premier League game.
His eye became the talk of social media as he sat on the bench for Belgium’s 1-1 draw with Holland.
The 24-year-old revealed he was so ill after Chelsea’s 2-0 win at Southampton he burst a blood vessel when vomiting. But he assured supporters the blemish doesn’t affect his vision and he will be fine to face Estonia.
‘I didn’t feel well, was sick and burst a vessel. It’s one of those things that looks worse than it is,’ he said. ‘It was all right when it first happened because people thought it was for Halloween. But it doesn’t look so good now. It won’t stop me playing. It’s not a problem in that sense.’
Courtois has kept eight consecutive clean sheets for club and country but is taking all the compliments heading his way with a pinch of salt.
‘At the start of the season, they said I was statistically saving the least amount of shots,’ he smiled. ‘I didn’t think I was doing that badly, there wasn’t a lot I could have done about most of the goals going in.’
He also pleaded for patience with his international captain Kompany, saying: ‘I had a knee injury last season and I know it’s always dangerous to come back too early.’