Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho returned from his Madrid court hearing over a disputed tax bill in time to take an evening training session with his team at Carrington.
The Portuguese cut an understandably tired figure as he was driven into the club’s main training base on Friday afternoon and was soon followed by a host of stars, including midfielder Paul Pogba and striker Romelu Lukaku.
Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata were also in attendance and both arrived in good time in order to stop for those who waited outside. The former signed a number of shirts for a keen supporter while the latter appeared to receive a present from a doting fan.
Having agreed to settle the disputed £3million bill with the Spanish tax authorities, Mourinho is now free to focus his attention on tactics ahead of a return to former club Chelsea for the Sunday evening Premier League tie.
One of his biggest decisions will be whether or not to include Pogba in his team. The Frenchman has been out with a hamstring injury since September but has been training well for much of this week.
However, the manager will be guarded against rushing his £89m man back to action too soon, especially in the intense title clash that awaits them at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues ran out 4-0 winners in the same fixture just over a year ago, a victory which seemed to add fuel to the fire that would ultimately result in them lifting the Premier League trophy under Antonio Conte.
There is also plenty to be said for Mourinho’s current midfield options, who have thrived in Pogba’s absence, resulting in three consecutive wins and clean sheets in their last three games.
Matic has been a star of the team since his summer arrival from Chelsea while youth product Scott McTominay has also impressed in Pogba’s absence, putting in assured performances against Swansea and Benfica. Ander Herrera is also an option to start.