Ferdinand explains why Mourinho has had to axe Mkhitaryan

Ferdinand explains why Mourinho has had to axe Mkhitaryan

Jose Mourinho's side needed only a point to win the group and looked as though they would cruise to victory during a first half in which they controlled, but Basel rallied brilliantly after the break and stole a deserved victor right at the end.

Jose Mourinho has taken his men to Switzerland knowing that just a draw against Basel will book a spot in the last 16 of the tournament. Mourinho's side are nearly certain to top their group and qualify, they just need a draw against CSKA Moscow at Old Trafford.

Mkhitaryan, 28, was left out of the squad that defeated Newcastle 4-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday and the Armenian cut a lonely figure at training this week. Should they avoid a four-goal defeat, qualification is guaranteed.

He added of Smalling's hopes of going to the World Cup: "Of course".

"If the team is not winning, his presence on the pitch will be important and it will be positive for him to play with (Romelu) Lukaku".




United went even closer a few moments later, with Manuel Akanji heading off the line after Fellaini had appeared to nod in from a corner.

Jose Mourinho claimed Mkhitaryan's omission against Newcastle was down to tactical reasons and the fact that he wanted to play Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford in the same team.

Mourinho sent on Nemanja Matic and Marcus Rashford, but United didn't respond and Lang almost made them pay by crashing a header against the bar.

However, there were concerns that he would not be seen in a United shirt again following a serious knee injury in April and being released following the end of his one-year contract, but that failed to last long as he signed a new one-year deal with the club in the summer to continue his recovery.

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