Manchester United welcome Everton to Old Trafford on Sunday in their return to Premier League action, and manager Jose Mourinho is hopeful Romelu Lukaku can get back to scoring ways against his old club. Alexis Sanchez will miss the home clash and is one of several injury concerns, however.
The Portuguese addressed the media on Friday ahead of his side's second home match in succession, having lost 1-0 to Juventus in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.
Lukaku hasn't scored in his past four league outings, but Mourinho said in his press conference that the Belgium international's confidence will come back: "I always feel, I always feel that every game. One day will be, and one day he will score, and one day his confidence levels will be back to normal, which clearly they are not there, but I always feel that."
It was put to Mourinho that Lukaku should perhaps be rested, but Mourinho said injuries won't allow for that:
"Well against Juventus to give him a break, I don't think [assistant coach Michael] Carrick can play as a striker, so against Juventus or we play with the players that we did or we decide to give a rest to Lukaku, then [Marcus] Rashford, who plays as a winger?
"We are not in the best situation to try to think about resting players or try to find solutions, the solutions is to play the players we have."
The Red Devils need every asset they can get their hands on after winning just once in their past seven games, and Mourinho delivered a hopeful update on Jesse Lingard, who has been out injured since September:
However, the Portuguese appeared to show frustration over how Lingard aggravated his injury by not resting enough after the 2018 FIFA World Cup: "Yes, he came from the World Cup with that problem. He thought wrongly that the holiday period would bring things to normality. Then he thought wrongly that keep working or start working would improve, and then he felt in an impossible situation to play football."
The hopes for the involvement of Sanchez—who missed Tuesday's defeat to Juventus—are more bleak, and Mourinho said the Chile international won't be recovered in time to face Everton, as Sky Sports News shared:
Sanchez has played only 28 minutes of United's past two league matches and would miss a top-flight matchday squad for the third time in 10 matches this season if he's omitted for the Everton clash.
He played the full 90 minutes for Chile in their 1-0 friendly win over Mexico on October 16, and he was one of four players recently hurt on international duty. That drew criticism from Mourinho, per Simon Peach of the Press Association:
Sunday's meeting with Everton puts Mourinho on a collision course with compatriot Marco Silva. When asked whether he remained friends with the former Sporting CP and Estoril coach, Mourinho replied:
"Good friends. You know Marco now, I understand the questions when he was coming from Olympiakos I think but now I don't understand the questions, he is the third club in the country third season in the PL you all know Marco, the only thing I want to say is yes we are good friends. In football it is difficult to feed that relationship between managers because our life is not an easy one and we can't have conversations every day, but he's a good boy and I know I feel he has the same kind of feelings towards me."
Silva's Everton have lost only once away from home in the league this season but only recently sealed their first win of the campaign on the road, when they beat Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on October 6.