Manchester United will be getting no sympathy about injuries, or lack of strength in depth, after spending well in excess of £600m starting summer 2014.
However, Jose Mourinho has, predictably, blamed injuries and..lack of squad strength, as reasons for falling behind Manchester City.
With only 11 matches gone, Manchester United are already eight points behind the leaders, having lost two of their last three Premier League games.
A rather fortunate 1-0 win over Tottenham was sandwiched between defeats to both Huddersfield and Chelsea.
Mourinho has bemoaned the absence of a number of long-term injured, with Pogba, Ibrahimovic, Fellaini, and Rojo, all having been on the missing list for some time.
Whilst the Swedish striker won’t be available until the new year at the earliest, Fellaini returned to the squad at the weekend.
He isn’t great to watch but he certainly made a difference when he came on at Chelsea, the blues had been well on top and should have been out of sight, but the Manchester United midfielder caused them all sorts of problems in the final stages, when the visitors almost sneaked what would have been a totally undeserved point.
Fellaini is in line to start against Newcastle in 10 days time and there looks to be even worse news for Rafa Benitez.
Marcos Rojo wasn’t involved on Sunday but he travelled with the squad and Jose Mourinho has said he expects the Argentine defender to be available against Newcastle.
The Manchester United manager has also stated that Paul Pogba is set to be included in his plans for the 18 November.
The French international has been sidelined since September with a hamstring injury and has carried out most of his rehabilitation in the United States.
However, he is now back the club’s Carrington training complex to complete his recovery process and is now training with the other Manchester United players who aren’t on international duty.
From the sounds of it, Fellaini is set to start, whilst Rojo is also a strong possibility, whilst with Pogba you would imagine he is likely to be used as an impact sub if necessary, though you can’t see Mourinho taking any chances with such a key player.
Arguably, Newcastle United’s injury problems are even more acute, with Mikel Merino and Captain Jamaal Lascelles being such important players in Rafa’s far smaller squad. At this stage it looks unlikely that either will feature against Manchester United but it would be a major boost if they did, as Rafa Benitez will be desperate not to make it three defeats on the bounce.