Sunday 16 December 2018

'Do you want me to go for their beautiful face?' - Jose Mourinho ready to drop Manchester United's star names

Jose Mourinho's Manchester United slumped to defeat against bottom side West Brom
Jose Mourinho's Manchester United slumped to defeat against bottom side West Brom
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has hinted he is ready to drop some of his star names for Wednesday’s Premier Legaue clash at Bournemouth and this weekend’s FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham after Sunday’s 1-0 home defeat against West Bromwich Albion.

Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku were among the high-profile signings singled out for criticism as Mourinho's side lost at home to the Premier League’s bottom side to hand Manchester City the Premier League title and they may now be sweating on their places in the starting line-up ahead of week that could define United's season.

Mourinho did not try to hide his disappointment at a performance that clearly left him frustrated and some of his star names will now be sweating on their place in Saturday’s FA Cup clash against Spurs at Wembley.

“Rotating is not the right word,” Mourinho said of his approach ahead of the game at Bournemouth. “If I play a player against Bournemouth and the player is phenomenal, he plays the semi-final.

“So is not rotating, because rotating looks like a player that plays against Bournemouth is to give a rest to somebody that is going to play against Spurs in the semi-final.

“So, the word is not rotation, it is an opportunity for people, for some people to play and to try to get a place in the team for Spurs - and some of the guys that played (against West Brom), they don’t have a place in that team.

“What is the criteria for a manager to choose a team? I only know one criteria: the way you play is the only way I can select players.

“Or do you want me to go for the price they cost, or their salary, or their beautiful face? The only way is to go with performance.”

Pogba came under fire for his performance against West Bromwich Albion, but Mourinho insisted his £89m club record signing was not alone in under-performing at Old Trafford on Sunday.

“It was not just him, and he had a yellow card, so he was in a more difficult position than others,” said Mourinho, after he replaced Pogba mid-way through the second half against the Baggies.

“Playing with only two midfield players, you cannot play with one player in risk of not being able to make a foul.

“You can do it if your team is not losing the ball, but our team was losing the ball so easy with the complication, everything was complicated, so we were losing lots of balls.

“So, by losing lots of balls, with turnings and flicks and tricks, the midfield players and central defenders are at risk of one touch, one late challenge and they are out.

“So, Paul was out because of the yellow card, because in terms of the way he played he was not worse than some others that were on the pitch for 90 minutes.”

Mourinho’s disappointment will have no doubt been compounded by the fact some of those under-performing have been key players for him, with Sanchez among those struggling to make his mark after a high profile move from Arsenal in January.

“Consistency has nothing to do with age,” the United boss said when asked if he was getting the best out of the experienced, established players.

“It has to do with personality, has to do with the way you live for football, what is your priority in your life, your ambitions. It has not to do with age.

“I met players 30-years-old, not consistent at all, and I found boys of 18, 19, 20, real men, real pros, so it’s not about the age.”

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