'That's life in big clubs' - Jose Mourinho opens up on why Michael Carrick and Ander Herrera are not in his team
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has insisted his experienced midfield duo of Michael Carrick and Ander Herrera still have a place in his plans, even though they have been warming the bench in the opening weeks of the season.
Herrera is United's reigning Player of the Year and Carrick was handed a new contract by Mourinho last summer, a few weeks before he celebrated his 36th birthday.
While the duo were crucial to the United challenge last season, Mourinho has preferred alternative midfield options as his side have made a flying start to this campaign, yet he had these words of encouragement for Carrick and Herrera ahead of the Carabao Cup tie against Burton Albion at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
"We gave Michael Carrick a contract because we think he’s a good player and an important player," declared Mourinho. "He’s just in a team where I think, in this moment, (Nemanja) Matic and (Marouane) Fellaini are in the best form that I have ever seen them. I never saw Matic playing so well. I never saw Fellaini playing so well.
"It is the same for other players. Sergio Romero played the Europa League final (against Ajax in May), which was the game of the season for us and he is not playing," the United boss said.
"Ander Herrera was player of the season and is not starting matches. That's life in big clubs. That's a team, that's a squad, we can only play with 11 guys."
Luke Shaw is also set to get a first run-out of the season in what is expected to be a much changed United line-up, but Mourinho insists he is keen to try and defend the trophy he won at Wembley last Feburary.
"Oh yes, serious because it's football, it's competition and we take it seriously," added the United boss.
"Our squad is good but we don't have 30 players, we have what we have and a couple of injuries now with (Paul) Pogba and (Axel) Tuanzebe, so we need some of the players that played today to play and we need some to be on the bench.
"We need to have a strong team. I know the quality of the Championship division and I know if we don't take it seriously, we are going to lose."