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29th Oct 2016

Three of Jose Mourinho’s first choice back four now sidelined as Antonio Valencia goes under the knife

The annual defensive injury crisis at Old Trafford

Darragh Murphy

That treatment room is getting awfully cramped on the red side of Manchester.

Jose Mourinho’s preferred starting back four has been decimated with injuries, with first choice right back Antonio Valencia set for an extended spell on the sidelines after fracturing his arm.

For the first Premier League game this season, Valencia’s name was absent from the Manchester United teamsheet and it was confirmed by Mourinho prior to kick-off against Burnley that the Ecuadorian was undergoing surgery today.

Valencia is believed to have fractured his arm in United’s 1-0 victory over arch-rivals Manchester City midweek but he saw out the full 90 minutes of the EFL Cup clash.

Mourinho’s most-used defensive unit in the Premier League this season has consisted of Valencia, Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly and Daley Blind and with the bad news about Valencia, that means 75% of his first choice back four is not available for selection.

“Antonio is having surgery today,” said Mourinho.” He has a fracture in his arm. With Michael Carrick, the decision was to play with only two midfield players and also thinking about the next match against Fenerbahce [on Thursday].

“The problem for us is having injuries all in the same area with [Eric] Bailly], Chris [Smalling] and Valencia. They were the three players that start almost every match in the Premier League and now we have lost all three in the same period.

“But that’s football and it’s an opportunity for others to play. We trust Darmian and we trust Marcos Rojo to have a positive influence.”

United supporters weren’t exactly thrilled about the pre-match update.

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