Jose Mourinho on fielding a strong team against St Etienne

by Leo Nieboer

Jose Mourinho has insisted he will field a strong team for Manchester United’s second leg against Saint Etienne next week.

Man United placed themselves firmly in the driving seat against Christophe Galtier’s men with an emphatic 3-0 win, hallmarked by a Zlatan Ibrahimovic hat-trick and a truly mesmerising performance from Anthony Martial who looked back to his electric best.

Ander Herrera‘s second half booking rules him out of the visit to France but Mourinho will have no other suspended first team members for the second leg, although United’s 3-0 advantage could have led to a weaker team with one eye on the EFL Cup final next week against Southampton.

However, speaking after the game Mourinho made it clear he would field a strong team in France despite his side’s heavy advantage.

“I’m happy with the result. It’s not over but it’s a good result,” he said.

“It’s a good rest for Herrera [next week] but I am always respectful. I don’t want my team to be punished so I will go with a strong team.”

A final scoreline of 3-0 was flattering for United. Until about 70 minutes, whereupon ASSE – probably tired of chasing after Martial – promptly started to flag, this was a furiously-paced, end-to-end encounter. The visitors came to Old Trafford with a vibrant sense of urgency and should have made United pay in the first half.

ASSE have struggled in front of goal all season, managing just 30 goals, despite displaying a clear capacity to dominate games and create chances. But Mourinho will know that, should they find their flow next week and grab the first goal, they could be in for a testing encounter.

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