Victor Lindelof out Until Christmas with Groin Injury, Says Jose Mourinho

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 28, 2018

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: Jose Mourinho the head coach / manager of Manchester United  consoles Victor Lindelof of Manchester United at full time during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on November 24, 2018 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is hoping for a Christmas return to action for Victor Lindelof after he suffered a groin injury in Saturday's 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace

The Swede was absent for Tuesday's UEFA Champions League clash with Young Boys, which United won 1-0, and Mourinho offered an update on him in his post-match press conference.

Per Liam Corless of the Manchester Evening News, he said: "I hope that he can play around Christmas time, when we have accumulation of matches. I would say three weeks, or something like that."

Lindelof's injury leaves United with just three senior centre-backs available in Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Eric Bailly, as Marcos Rojo also missed the Young Boys match.

On Monday, Mourinho said the Argentinian was dealing with a "little injury," per the MEN's Samuel Luckhurst.

Luckhurst felt Lindelof was one of the only United players to emerge from the goalless draw against Palace with any credit:

Samuel Luckhurst @samuelluckhurst

Mourinho walks onto the pitch and goes over to hug Lindelof, who played on injured. One of the few players who performed acceptably today. #mufc

United play eight times in December, with six of their games coming before Christmas, so the timing of his injury does not bode well for them.

To make matters worse, included in that run is a home clash with Arsenal on December 5 and a trip to Liverpool on December 16.

Lindelof arrived at Old Trafford last year from Benfica with the reputation as a promising defender.

The 24-year-old has struggled to settle in his new surroundings, and ESPN's Alex Shaw gave a damning assessment of him earlier this season:

Alex Shaw @AlexShawESPN

@EHellberg98 It's not needless. He's among the worst centre backs I have seen at United. A few good games in a different team and a different tournament doesn't change the fact he has been a total dud for United. He's hopeless.

Bleacher Report's Rob Blanchette believes he has played better in recent weeks, though:

Rob Blanchette @_Rob_B

Agreed. Think Lindelof is improving. Smalling, however… https://t.co/623orDknaW

While Lindelof still has much to prove at United he has the potential to do so given time, unlike Chris Smalling, who remains inconsistent at 29.

Jones is only 26, but he's still yet to convince despite being in his eighth season with the Red Devils, while Bailly emerged as their best defender following his 2016 arrival but has recently been left out by Mourinho after a drop in form.

With Lindelof out, Mourinho will be relying on them during a difficult and busy period of the season.

The goalless draw with Palace was just United's second Premier League clean sheet in this campaign, though, so their defensive struggles may well continue.