Jose Mourinho has provided some early team news ahead of Manchester United’s clash with Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
The Portuguese noted following his side’s 2-0 defeat to Arsenal that they had given up on the top four as a route into the Champions League.
Such a standpoint has only been advanced by Man United’s passage into the Europa League final in light of their 1-1 draw with Celta Vigo on Thursday night.
And Mourinho, speaking soon after the game, noted that he would have to rotate his side at White Hart Lane.
“I approach these games the same,” he said. “I have to give some minutes to everyone because we only have 15 players. We don’t have more. We only have 15 so I have to play them but I have to play them in a mixed way and by periods.
“I don’t have another solution. In the Premier League, we can only finish fifth or sixth. I don’t think we can finish seventh or we can finish fourth so it’s fifth or sixth and we can win a trophy.
“By winning that trophy, we can play in the Champions League next season so that’s the game but, obviously, like we did against Arsenal, we didn’t throw the match away.
“We played and we tried to win. We gave a difficult match to our opponents and had chances to get a different result. It’s what we are going to do. We are not going say matches are not important – they are important. But we have one that is more important than others. The match on Sunday is important for us too.”
United’s next three games can be viewed as important not in terms of points, but instead of how safely they can be navigated ahead of the clash with Ajax on May 24.
Mourinho will have to be adroit with his team selection, ensuring that key players don’t clock up too many miles and pick up injuries, whilst also keeping them in the groove over the next two weeks.
He will, one suspects, seek to blend first team players with less experienced individuals – like Axel Tuanzebe and Scott McTominay – in a way that keeps his preferred starting XI in prime condition for the decisive clash with Peter Bosz’s men.