Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed midfielder Marouane Fellaini had surgery on his knee on Saturday, with the club targeting a return before the end of March.
The Belgium international came on as a substitute in the 2-0 loss against Tottenham Hotspur on January 31 but was withdrawn again after just seven minutes.
The former Everton man featured in 28 Premier League contests last year and generally did well, and he started the 2017-18 campaign in solid form.
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Injuries have held him back this season, however, and a ligament issue even forced him to return to Belgium to recover in October, per Ciaran Kelly of the Manchester Evening News.
United have depth in the midfield areas thanks to the emergence of Scott McTominay as a viable Premier League starter, but Mourinho seems to trust Fellaini more than some of his other options, including Ander Herrera.
It’s a major frustration for Mourinho. While United fans don’t adore Fellaini, with their side still in the FA Cup after a 4-0 Fourth Round win against Yeovil Town last weekend, second in the Premier League and set to face Sevilla in the UEFA Champions League knockout stages, Mourinho needs options.
It’s a busy time of the season and a vital period in determining how much success United have this campaign having lifted two major trophies in the last (EFL Cup and UEFA Europa League). Fellaini isn’t the club’s best midfielder, but he’s an option, and a valuable one which they no longer have.
It’s not the end of his season, not at all,” Mourinho assured. “It’s a small intervention in his external meniscus and I want to believe that by the end of March he can be back.
“And if he can be back by the end of March, I hope we have a big April and a big May still to play in more than one competition.”