Jose Mourinho has revealed that Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku may have to settle for a bench role in the FA Cup final.
Lukaku is struggling with an ankle injury sustained against Arsenal last month and is to miss the climax to the Premier League campaign against Watford at Old Trafford on Sunday.
The Belgium striker is also a doubt for the Wembley showpiece against Chelsea on May 19, but Mourinho hopes he will be involved in some capacity.
“We hope he can play the final,” the United manager said.
“He’s in Belgium having his treatment and there is communication between the doctors in Belgium and our medical department.
“We are just waiting to see if it’s possible for him to be involved in the final, if not starting at least he can be on the bench.”
Mourinho has provided some early team news for Sunday's game against Watford.— Manchester United (@ManUtd) May 10, 2018
Michael Carrick will captain United on Sunday to mark the England midfielder’s final appearance before joining Mourinho’s backroom staff.
“Carrick had already been decided. So if we’d lost the match (against West Ham) and we needed the point against Watford, I would play Carrick the same,” said Mourinho.
“He’s going to start the match as a captain and he’s not going to end the match because I want him to leave the pitch alone and I want him to feel what the United supporters feel in relation to him.
A special surprise for me last night. Honoured to be recognised by @ManUtd. Big thank you for the amazing reception I received on stage, to Jose for the gifts and to all those who sent me the video messages, especially Louise and Jaceyâ¤â¤ I had no idea. Iâm so very lucky 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/kb4s4YJsIe— Michael Carrick (@carras16) May 2, 2018
“I am not so sad as I normally am when my players end their career because he is going to be with us.
“He is going to be even closer to me than he was as a player so it is just an emotional moment because it is the end of a career of a fantastic player.
“So he starts the match and we make the change in some moment so he can leave the pitch alone.”
Mourinho will not field a young team against Watford, even though United are assured of second place behind champions Manchester City regardless of what unfolds on Sunday.
“I have every player apart from Marouane Fellaini and Lukaku available and I don’t go to the young players,” he said.