Jose Mourinho will field a full-strength starting XI for Manchester United’s Europa League game with Fenerbahce on Thursday night.
Man United’s European campaign begun in tumultuous fashion against Feyenoord, with Mourinho’s side succumbing to a 1-0 defeat, before receiving some much-needed respite in the form of a 1-0 win over Zorya Luhansk on match-day two.
The contest with the Turkish side, who currently top the group, comes just three days after Man United’s visit to Anfield and two days before their game against Chelsea.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the game, Mourinho made it clear that he would field a full-strength XI against Dick Advocaat’s side.
“Tomorrow we will play with a team that has a chance to win and if we do not play with a team that is not good or strong we don’t have a chance,” he said.
“We have to play with a good team knowing that two days’ later we have to play in the Premier League.”
The visit to Stamford Bridge on Sunday is, in the context of the entire season, unquestionably important. A win would take United above Antonio Conte’s side, placing them firmly amongst those already gearing up for a title race.
With that in mind, fielding a full-strength XI – especially after Monday’s exertions – is a questionable decision. The Europa League, despite being an established major continental competition, holds far less value than the domestic campaign for Mourinho – who needs, one feels, nothing below a third place finish – this season.
This is the ideal place for fringe players to make their mark. The likes of Michael Carrick, Marcos Rojo, Matteo Darmian, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Memphis Depay ought to receive a chance to impress on Thursday, as opposed to watching on from the bench as indispensable players exhaust themselves ahead of a crucial game in West London on Sunday.