March 12, 2018 / 4:17 PM / 12 days ago

Martial fit for Sevilla clash, says Mourinho

LONDON (Reuters) - Anthony Martial is fit and available for Manchester United’s Champions League round of 16, second-leg game at home to Sevilla, manager Jose Mourinho said on Monday.

Soccer Football - Champions League - Manchester United Training - Aon Training Complex, Manchester, Britain - March 12, 2018 Manchester United's Anthony Martial during training Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

The French forward missed last week’s Premier League victories over Crystal Palace and Liverpool but trained on Monday ahead of the visit of the Spanish club on Tuesday.

Midfielder Paul Pogba remains a doubt, however, as United try to capitalise on the 0-0 draw in the first leg in Spain.

“I don’t know if (Pogba) is fit but he trained after you left,” Mourinho told a news conference after a training session that was open to the media. “Martial is fit yes.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic also trained with the squad although Mourinho did not offer any clues as to whether the Swedish striker might be involved against Sevilla.

He has not played since Dec. 26.

United go into the game full of confidence after Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Liverpool cemented their place in second spot in the Premier League to make their qualification for next year’s Champions League via a top-four finish highly likely.

That is a marked contrast to last season when they finished sixth and had to win the Europa League to earn a place back in the continent’s elite club competition.

Asked if United have the potential to go all the way this season, Mourinho was cautious.

“Not yet, but when a team reaches the last eight anything is possible,” he said. “Now I have only one name and that is Sevilla, I know is very difficult to go through.

“If we go through to the quarter-final draw, doesn’t matter the opponent, will always be one of the big names in European football but we will try.”

Midfielder Michael Carrick sat alongside Mourinho in the news conference and the former England international confirmed he will end his playing career at the end of the season.

The 36-year-old has made only three appearances since experiencing an irregular heart rhythm in September.

“There comes a time when, as much as you like or don’t like it, your body tells you it’s time to stop playing. It’s something you have to accept,” Carrick said.

“I’ve tried all sorts of different things to bring the best out of me over the years and I can say that I’ve given my best, so I can look back with no regrets.”

Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond

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