Following the international break, Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho will have to resort to shuffling his team ahead of the match against Stoke City.
Manchester United will travel to the Bet365 stadium to take on Stoke City – a side managed by former striker Mark Hughes – on Saturday. Although United will be keen to maintain the momentum after recording three consecutive victories, there are some concerns for Jose Mourinho.
Considering the proximity of all the fixtures, Mourinho was faced with a lack of preparation time for the weekend. Luke Shaw and Ashley Young have proven to be quite solid for the Under-23s and could possibly hope to feature, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo remain on the sidelines.
However, the situation still remains rather dicey as was made clear by the Portuguese manager. “We have to wait and see,” the Mourinho told during the pre-match press conference. “There is still one more training session. Not every player has reported yet, so today is the first time we are all together.”
“I hope that these 15 days without us being together and working together, doesn’t affect us too much. I know it will affect [us]. One thing is a week working with the players and working tactically and going through every principle; another thing is to have the players away and arriving step by step.”
The Red Devils have grueling months of back-to-back commitments ahead of them, and the manager has revealed he will shuffle his pack to provide opportunities to all of his first-team players. Rashford could be reinstated in the starting eleven for the trip to Stoke after excelling in England’s 2-1 win over Slovakia.
With the Champions League fixture against Basel three days away, Mourinho could revert to making subtle alterations to his team in order to save the players he wants to start on Tuesday. There will likely be no changes at the heart of defence though, with Eric Bailly and Phil Jones expected to start against Stoke.
It also makes better sense to utilize the two defenders in the Premier League fixture since both of them have European bans they need to serve. However, Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof have already been slated to start against Basel and are likely sit out this game in preparation.