Europa League the priority for United's Mata as EFL Cup final looms

Defender Phil Jones also missed the tie with a foot injury and has not played since the Premier League draw with Hull City, and is also out of the trip to France on Thursday [23 February].

Wayne Rooney could be deprived of a possible final appearance at Wembley for Manchester United as he is still struggling to recover from a muscle injury that has kept him out of the club's past three matches.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has said he is unsure whether captain Wayne Rooney will be fit in time for the EFL Cup final against Southampton at Wembley on Sunday.

The Red Devils were 3-0 winners against Ligue 1 side Saint-Etienne in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 clash on Thursday night thanks to Zlatan Ibrahimovic's hat-trick.

The striker said: "At this stage of the competition, you will face a good team".

Reports are suggesting Beijing Guo'an and Guangzhou Evergrande are among the two top contenders for the 31-year old's services. We are entering the decisive part of the season and we are still fighting to win some of the trophies.

"They got one over us so we have to go there with the attitude to win", he said.

"As you become a more experienced player, you realise that you must think about the next game only, otherwise it would be a mistake".

  • Carolyn Briggs