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Antonio Valencia Says He's Been Dropped by Manchester United Boss Jose Mourinho

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistNovember 16, 2018

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 02: Antonio Valencia of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Manchester United at Turf Moor on September 2, 2018 in Burnley, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Manchester United defender Antonio Valencia has said he's been dropped from the club's starting XI after manager Jose Mourinho suggested his absence was due to injuries and concerns over his fitness. 

Valencia has not been named in United's past seven matchday squads, dating back to October 2. However, he scored the opener as Ecuador beat Peru 2-0 on Thursday and spoke to Area Deportiva after the game (h/t Mirror's Liam Prenderville):

"Right now I haven't been playing, but it's more of a tactical decision.

"The player who has been in my place (Ashley Young) has been playing well. You have to respect the decision.

"The only thing I can do is prepare and be ready for when [Mourinho] needs me and be in the right condition to compete. I'm calm right now and I know I'll get an opportunity to play again.

"The relationship with Mourinho has always been a good one."

It hardly seems like coincidence that Valencia's most recent appearance for the club came just before he liked an Instagram post supporting the notion that Mourinho should be sacked, per Goal's Robin Bairner. He apologised for his social media activity immediately afterwards:

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Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News also doubted the veracity of suggestions Valencia was injured:

The Red Devils signed versatile full-back Diogo Dalot from Porto in June, but the £19 million capture has made only two senior appearances for his new club, neither of which was in the Premier League.

His first-team debut came in a 3-0 UEFA Champions League win over Young Boys, but his only appearance since then was in the disappointing Carabao Cup penalty-shootout loss to Derby County, wherein he grabbed an assist.

Dalot missed the start of the season through injury and has since been sidelined again, though that doesn't appear to have dampened his passion for the club. He celebrated their recent 2-1 win over Juventus despite having no involvement:

Valencia, 33, is out of contract at the end of this season, but there is the option to extend that agreement by another 12 months.

His performance for Ecuador on Thursday suggests he is fit, at least, and Prenderville reported Valencia will not take part in La Tri's friendly against Panama on Tuesday.

United's next game is against Crystal Palace on November 24.