Mourinho: I feel weaker without Fellaini

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Mourinho cited the absence of the Belgian as a reason for United’s dropped points against Stoke on Saturday and is desperate to have him back

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has claimed that he "feels weaker" without the presence of Marouane Fellainiin his first-team squad.

Fellaini has endured a mixed time at Old Trafford since signing from Everton in 2013, but the 29-year-old has emerged as a trusted member of the senior setup in the North-West.

Fellaini was absent from the 2-2 draw with Stoke City on Saturday and remains a doubt for the Champions League opener with Basel due to a calf injury, but Mourinho has suggested that the versatile Belgian will be involved if passed fit by the medical team.

The 54-year-old told reporters: "He's an important player for me - a lot more important than you can imagine.

"I feel weaker without Fellaini in my squad, doesn't matter if it's on the pitch or on the bench. If his conditions are improved, he will be selected, I need him."

Mourinho also confirmed that his central defensive pair will be Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof, who is yet to start a competitive game for United.

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“Even if [Eric] Bailly and [Phil] Jones were not suspended, probably I would still play Lindelof and Smalling tomorrow. They are at the same level, they are just different players.

“There are reasons for the other boys to be worried because Victor is a very good player.”

Fellaini has netted once from four substitute outings in all competitions this season.

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