CSKA opened their campaign with an impressive 2-1 win away to Benfica and having come up against the Moscow giants several times in his managerial career, Mourinho feels this is the strongest they have ever been. The speedy attacking midfielder was born in Yerevan in January 1989 and speaks fluent, accent-free Russian. United top Group A on goal difference from CSKA after beating Basel 3-0 in their opening game.
Manchester United started the 2017/18 season with a flying start.
Meanwhile, CSKA Moscow are sitting third in Russian Federation, four points behind leaders Zenit, already losing three times from the 11 games they have played.
Spanish midfielder Juan Mata predicted United would face "a very hard game" against CSKA, who impressed in beating Benfica 2-1 in their opening group game in Portugal.
With Belgium already qualified for the World Cup, Mourinho hopes Fellaini will be rested during the worldwide break next week.
United face CSKA Moscow without Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick, with Mourinho admitting his midfield has been stretched to the limit, with Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera his only remaining fit options there.
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"There are three midfielders that we lose for this match, so the solutions are not many".
"After Alex Ferguson's legacy, this current version of Manchester United is without any doubt the strongest team", he said ahead of the clash in the Russian capital.
Fellaini did not travel for the Group A game in Moscow after being caught on the back of his ankle by Shane Long during United's 1-0 win at Southampton on Saturday.
"But this season is different because I started playing well and the connection and understanding with other players, especially [Romelu] Lukaku, is great and I hope we can score many goals in the coming games".
CSKA Moscow: Marauding wing-back Mario Fernandes is not expected to play as a result of a knock he sustained at the weekend and will be a big miss for the home side. "We know that we don't need any additional motivation because they're so focused on the match". There have been four of them so far, and both teams have scored two victories each. "I'm not saying that he starts".
It was the ideal start to a half of virtual total domination by United, helped by some poor defending by the Russian club.