Football

Jose: Difficult for Bastian to play

HULL v MAN UNITED

(Tomorrow, 12.30am, Singtel TV Ch 103 & StarHub TV Ch 228 - Eleven Plus HD)

Jose Mourinho has emphasised it will be "very difficult" for Bastian Schweinsteiger to play for Manchester United this season and directed a dig back at Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, following the Bayern Munich chairman's criticism of how he has handled the player.

Schweinsteiger has been frozen out of the first-team picture at United this term, with boss Mourinho making it clear he is not part of his plans.

Earlier this week, the 32-year-old former Germany midfielder said he would not be joining another club in Europe and added of his current employers: "I will be ready, if the team need me."

But, when asked yesterday if there was any chance Schweinsteiger could play for United at all this term, Mourinho said: "I think it's very difficult to happen. I'm not saying it's impossible. I'm saying it's very difficult.

"We have a decision completely made about (Paul) Pogba, (Ander) Herrera, (Morgan) Schneiderlin, (Marouane) Fellaini and Michael Carrick (Schweinsteiger's fellow central midfielders).

"We have five players for two positions. It's very difficult that an opportunity will arrive."

After reports emerged of ex-Bayern man Schweinsteiger, a World Cup winner with Germany, being made to train with United's reserves by his new manager Mourinho, Rummenigge was quoted earlier this month as saying he could "hardly believe" such treatment, labelling it "a lack of respect for a worthy player".

And Mourinho said yesterday: "I thought after I read some quotes from people at Bayern Munich that they would run to Manchester to bring him (Schweinsteiger) back, but no, that did not happen.

"I am quite surprised that Mr Rummennigge is not here now to take him back."

Schweinsteiger has two years left on his United contract and, in terms of the prospect of him staying on at United despite not playing, Mourinho said: "I cannot answer for him. It's his life. It's his career.

"He has a contract with Man United and has the right to make that decision to stay.

"That's not a problem for us. Football is made of decisions. I did that all my career.

"Bastian is not speaking a lot. He gave this last statement, which he is completely free to do in an objective and polite way like he did. There are no problems at all."

Meanwhile, Hull's caretaker boss Mike Phelan is not expecting any new signings to boost his threadbare squad before tomorrow morning's (Singapore time) game against Man United despite "a few fees" being agreed.

"We've agreed a few fees but haven't got into discussions yet down the line as to what else it's going to cost us on top of that," he said.

"We need as many as we can get. We talked a few weeks ago about maybe six, now that may be more, it may be less. We just have to pursue our interests and see if we can do those deals." - Wire Services.

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