Football

Jones, Bailly set to return against Spurs

Good news for Mourinho ahead of Saturday's blockbuster clash

Manchester United have received a massive boost ahead of Saturday's clash with Tottenham Hotspur, with centre backs Phil Jones and Eric Bailly set to return.

Jones has recovered from a leg injury and will be fit to face Harry Kane and Co. at Old Trafford, said manager Jose Mourinho.

The England international was replaced by Victor Lindelof in the first half of last Saturday's 2-1 loss to Huddersfield Town and the Swede's errors contributed to United's first league defeat of the season.

"Jones will be (back) because, today, he was on the bench and he told me he will be ready in case I need him," Mourinho said, after yesterday morning's (Singapore time) 2-0 win over Swansea City in the League Cup fourth round, with a double by Jesse Lingard.

"So I believe he'll be even better for Saturday. Apart from that, I have no news and no hopes (for any other players)."

THREE-MAN BACKLINE

Mourinho suggested last week that Bailly, who has not played for United since last month's 4-1 win over CSKA Moscow, will also be ready to face Spurs.

The Ivorian defender, who had suffered a groin injury while on international duty, posted a photo of himself with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David de Gea on Instagram before United played Swansea with an under-strength side.

"Feeling good after today's training session," Bailly wrote.

United have not set a return date for injured midfielders Paul Pogba (hamstring), Michael Carrick (calf) and Marouane Fellaini (knee).

Long-term absentees Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo are expected to return from their knee injuries by the end of the year.

Jones' return will be a timely boost for second-placed United, who are tied on 20 points with Spurs. Both sides are five points behind leaders Manchester City.

In Jones' absence, Mourinho fielded Lindelof against Swansea and even switched to a three-man backline to accommodate the Swede, who was not feeling too confident.

Axel Tuanzebe, 19, also made his first senior start of the season, alongside Lindelof and Chris Smalling.

In midfield, Mourinho started with another youngster, 20-year-old Scott McTominay, and was impressed by both.

Mourinho told MUTV: "The kids are always the kids so when they play, it is nice. When they perform well, it is even better.

"They both had good performances especially Scott, who has a big influence in the game in a crucial area.

LOW ON CONFIDENCE

"At the back, I tried to give Axel good protection.

"I decided to play with three because Victor was not coming with his confidence levels very, very high, so I decided to play both with the experience of Smalling and we were okay.

"It was good for the players to get confidence."

Meanwhile, midfielder Ander Herrera and forward Marcus Rashford will be assessed after picking up knocks against Swansea.

Rashford has a tight hamstring, while Herrera was caught on the ankle after a challenge. Both were taken off in the 67th minute. - WIRE SERVICES

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