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Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku may not start FA Cup final - Jose Mourinho

LONDON -- Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has raised the possibility that Romelu Lukaku may not be fit to start the FA Cup final.

Belgium international Lukaku has missed the last two games after suffering an ankle injury in the 2-1 win over Arsenal.

Both Mourinho and Lukaku have been optimistic that the striker -- who has been having treatment at the Move to Cure clinic in Belgium -- would be ready to line up against Chelsea at Wembley on May 19.

But following the 0-0 draw at West Ham on Thursday, the United manager hinted that Lukaku, who has scored 27 goals this season, may have to settle for a place on the bench against his former club.

"We hope he can play in the final," Mourinho told a news conference at the London Stadium.

"He is in Belgium having his treatment, with communication between the doctors in Belgium and our medical department.

"We are just waiting to see if it's possible for him to be involved in the final, if not starting then at least on the bench."

Lukaku will miss United's Premier League finale against Watford at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Mourinho has announced his intention to make a number of changes for that game, with defender Eric Bailly set for his first start since the 3-2 win over Manchester City last month.

"[Sergio] Romero plays on Sunday because he deserves that and some other players are going to play because we as a team achieve the second position and we, as a team, are going to play the FA Cup final," Mourinho said.

"I also play [Daley] Blind, [Eric] Bailly and [Juan] Mata. I have every player apart from [Marouane] Fellaini and Lukaku available."

Midfielder Michael Carrick will start for the final time before retiring at the end of the season.

The 36-year-old ends his playing career after 12 seasons at Old Trafford to join Mourinho's coaching staff, and the coach hopes he will get the send-off he deserves after more than 450 appearances 12 major honours.

"Carrick is going to start the match as captain, but he is not going to end the match because I want him to leave that pitch alone," Mourinho said.

"I want him to feel what the Manchester United supporters feel in relation to him.

"I'm not as sad as I normally am when my players end their careers because he is going to be with us and even closer to me than he was as a player.

"So it's just an emotional moment. He'll start the match and I'll make the change in some moments so he can leave the pitch alone."

Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.

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