MANCHESTER UNITED boss Jose Mourinho ordered Antonio Valencia, Romelu Lukaku and Ander Herrera to head straight to the dressing room ahead of Sunday’s showdown with Manchester City.
Manchester United geared up for their crunch Premier League clash with a 2-1 Champions League win over CSKA Moscow at Old Trafford last night.
Moscow took a surprise lead early on but the Red Devils rallied through Marcus Rashford and Lukaku, with the latter going on to be substituted.
And the Manchester Evening News say Mourinho ordered the Belgian – as well as Valencia and Herrera – to go straight to the dressing room.
Normally, such an act would suggest that the trio had picked up injuries.
But Mourinho supposedly wants them in peak condition for the game against City, knowing the title is on the line.
Manchester United need to win the game at Old Trafford if they are to have any hope of landing the prize for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
City have won a staggering 14 games from their first 15 outings, and sit eight points clear of their rivals going into the game.
Valencia is likely to be picked at right-back with Lukaku spearheading the attack.
Herrera, meanwhile, is the man expected to fill the void left by Paul Pogba’s suspension, with the France international out of the next three games after being dismissed against Arsenal.
Meanwhile, Sky Sports pundit Tony Gale thinks Mourinho needs to be defensive if he is to have any chance of beating City at the weekend.
“On these occasions you’ve got to play with your heads more than your hearts,” he said.
“Okay, it means a lot to everyone, Manchester derby, everything, but you’ve got to play with your heads.
“If you’re going to go blow-for-blow with Man City, attractive football, then I think you are going to come unstuck.
“I would think that Mourinho will play a more cautious kind of way, particularly (Paul) Pogba as you say.
“It’s going to be one of those things where ‘can you take on Manchester City?’.
“I don’t think so, so he’s got to play a Mourinho-style. The fans won’t mind it, as long as he gets the result.”