Mourinho: Derby will be hard against Iheanacho, others

Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola

Ahead of today’s Manchester derby, United manager Jose Mourinho is wary of Kelechi Iheanacho and the rest of the City team despite the absence of star man Sergio Aguero.

Aguero is currently the second highest goalscorer in the derby behind Wayne Rooney but was suspended for the tie after he was caught on tape elbowing West Ham United defender Reid.

During the press conference leading up to the game, Mourinho was asked if Aguero’s absence will affect his team’s preparation, he replied: “Yes, it changes because it is more difficult.

“When Aguero is available we know that Aguero plays. We know their formation and what their dynamic is. Nobody has doubts. When a player like him is ready he plays. At this moment he doesn’t play.

“They have a very rich squad full of options and now Guardiola can have many different decisions. One thing is if he decides to play with Iheanacho. Another thing is if he decides to play with Sterling. Another one is for example if he decides to play with Silva as a fake number nine in between the lines.

“So they have so many options that for us in the preparation of the game we have to go step by step. We have to go situation after situation because we try to reduce the unpredictability of the game.

“We know they have so many options so to try to do that job for the players is more difficult. It looks a little bit of a contradiction but without Aguero it is more difficult.

Mourinho then assured Red Devils fans that all of his players are available including Henrikh Mkhitaryan who picked up a knock on international duty with Armenia over the weekend.

“Everybody is available,” Mourinho toldMUTV. “It’s not the same as if we were here all week and working, resting and not travelling, but there are no injuries and everybody has returned safely and on time for at least one training session. Everybody is ready and wants to play, of course.

“Mkhitaryan is available. I’m not saying he’s ready to play 90 minutes but he’s ready to try to help us.”