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Mourinho protecting Pogba and Ibrahimovic as they prepare for Brighton

24 November 2017 12:57

Jose Mourinho has confirmed Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba are again set to feature when Manchester United host Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

The pair returned from injury against Newcastle United last weekend – Ibrahimovic coming off the bench while Pogba started and scored – but neither is yet ready to play a full 90 minutes as Mourinho's men take on the Seagulls at Old Trafford.

Ibrahimovic and Pogba are likely to play some part, however, with their manager aware of their specific requirements in order to protect the players.

Asked about Ibrahimovic's prospects of starting, Mourinho said: "[He is] not ready; step by step, minute after minute, match after match."

The Portuguese had earlier discussed the progress of the two stars, telling MUTV: "I prefer [Ibrahimovic] on the pitch than off the pitch.

"On the pitch, he's another option for us and he's an option with quality; [with] his physicality and his intelligence, the way he moves, the way he plays.

"But he needs time. We managed to give him 15 to 20 minutes in both matches [against Newcastle and Basel]. He needs more of that, so hopefully we play him again.

"Paul is still on this process where he cannot reach the fatigue limit.

"He cannot go more than 65 to 70 minutes because that's when fatigue normally arrives and, with so many matches consecutively, we need to protect such an important player for us."

Mourinho confirmed that defenders Phil Jones and Eric Bailly remain out, with Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo and Victor Lindelof making up his back line options.

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