Jose Mourinho has provided some early team news ahead of Manchester United’s clash with Celta Vigo on Thursday, noting that he will be able to field a well rested side after making eight changes for the 2-0 defeat to Arsenal.
Ander Herrera, Matteo Darmian and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were the only players to feature against both Celta and Arsenal as Mourinho rested the likes of Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Antonio Valencia and Eric Bailly at the Emirates.
Man United head into the second leg knowing that a win or draw will be enough to see them through to the Europa League final on May 24.
And Mourinho, speaking after the game, noted that, in spite of his side playing 58 games this season, he would be able to field a relatively fresh starting XI.
“These guys trying to play 90 minutes, I told them I only have three changes to make,” he said. “It’s Mkhitaryan, Darmian and Herrera, I told them before the match.
“So I’m also in the position where instead of making changes to improve my team my changes are to give rest, so they tried to play 90 minutes.
“They gave everything, they played well and it’s very good, because now they have these 90 minutes in their legs and they are ready to play even Thursday.
“Because now, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, we have three days to rest and I think on Thursday we will have our group, our core, ready to go for a very important match.”
The Portuguese made a brutally pragmatic decision at Arsenal: he decided to openly field a second string side against a long-time rival after declaring that, following United’s 1-1 draw with Swansea, the Premier League had been abandoned as a possible route into the top four.
What transpired wasn’t easy to watch: aside from Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial, nobody in the side looked capable of matching the pace set by the Gunners. But it does mean that, come Thursday, United will be able to come out with all guns blazing against the Spanish side.