Jose Mourinho has made wholesale changes for Manchester United’s final match of the Premier League season, against Watford at Old Trafford.
Ahead of next Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup final at Wembley versus Chelsea, nine changes was no surprise, with Mourinho declaring early that there would at least be seven different names on his team sheet against the Hornets.
The only survivors in the Reds manager’s XI that drew 0-0 last Thursday night in London against West Ham were Scott McTominay and Alexis Sanchez.
Alexis had been expected to be rested for the visit of Watford after Mourinho declared following the Hammers match that Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial would play on Sunday. However, Martial wasn’t in the 17 on duty after picking up an injury, which forced him to sit out Saturday’s training session.
Explaining his team selection ahead of kick-off, the boss said: “The match [cup final] is next Saturday so I’m not concerned about that. I’ve made lots of changes in the team not because of that.
“I’ve done it because I think in these last few matches of the season everyone deserves a start. Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind and Darmian, they deserve. That’s why I haven’t brought in any young players because my players deserve that.
“Sergio Romero is another one; he’s still trying to get a position in the World Cup so it’s for them, it’s for Michael [Carrick]. But as I always say, even if you are not fighting for anything – because we are second even if we win or lose – we are playing to try to win a football match.”
Captain Michael Carrick will lead the team out for his 464th United appearance and last at Old Trafford. The 36-year-old is retiring from playing at the end of the campaign and it will be the midfielder’s first appearance since the FA Cup tie at Huddersfield in February.
“I don’t think Michael knows how to play bad,” Mourinho said. “I know he’s going to do a good job for his team. I’m not sure if he can do it for 90 minutes, but even if he can, I will bring him off so he can come off on his own. I will have Herrera or Pogba to replace him and he can leave the pitch on his own. That’s for him and the fans.”
United: Romero; Darmian, Bailly, Rojo, Blind; Carrick, McTominay; Mata, Alexis, Young; Rashford. Subs: J. Pereira, Jones, Pogba, Lingard, Herrera, Shaw, Valencia.
Watford: Gomes; Janmaat, Cathcart, Kabasele, Holebas; Doucoure, Hughes; Deulofeu, Pereyra, Richarlison; Gray. Subs: Bachmann, Prodl, Mariappa, Chalobah, Lukebakio, Sinclair, Deeney.