As quoted on United’s official website, Mourinho confirmed that the England skipper missed the game due to the injury he sustained in training on Christmas Day, and was not feeling confident enough to play against the relegation candidates. When asked about whether the injury sustained by Rooney was enough to keep him out for a long time, the Portuguese tactician said,
“Honestly, I don’t think so. I hope so. I would like to have him, he’s always a player I would like to have but I have my doubts. Let’s see the evolution [of the injury]. It’s a strange muscle, a big muscle surrounded by others and you can have an injury there but still be able to move well. He was not feeling very confident. It’s not a big deal but, in four days, I have my doubts…”
United hardly felt his absence however, as goals from Blind, Ibrahimovic and Mkhitaryan ensured that The Red Devils continued their march up the league table, and they have now won five straight matches in all competitions. In fairness, Rooney has been poor all season, scoring just three times in 22 appearances, meaning he is no longer an automatic pick for his manager.