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17th Apr 2018

Jose Mourinho ready to drop Man United stars for FA Cup semi-final

Matthew Gault

No more Mr Nice Guy.

Jose Mourinho is ready to wield the axe on some of his under-performing Manchester United stars after thier ignominious defeat at home to West Brom.

United lost 1-0 at Old Trafford to the Premier League’s bottom club, leaving Mourinho less than thrilled with some of his players’ output.

United face Bournemouth on Wednesday night before facing Tottenham on Saturday in the FA Cup semi-final and Mourinho has suggested that several places in the line-up are up for grabs after an unsatisfactory performance against the Baggies.

“Rotating is not the right word,” the Portuguese coach said. “If I play a player against Bournemouth and the player is phenomenal, he plays in the semi‑final. So it is not rotating, because rotating [sounds] like a player that plays against Bournemouth is to give a rest to somebody that is going to play in the semi‑final. It is an opportunity for some people to play and try to get a place for Spurs.

“Some of the guys that played [against West Brom] don’t have a place in that team [for Bournemouth]. What is the criteria for a manager to choose a team? I only know one criteria: the way they play. Or do you want me to go for the price they cost, or their salary, or their beautiful face?”

Having shone in the comeback 3-2 victory over Manchester City, Paul Pogba failed to reproduce his finest form, being taken off after 58 minutes in Sunday’s defeat. However, Mourinho refused to lay the blame solely at the Frenchman’s feet, insisting that his players lost too many balls in midfield.

“It was not just him [who was poor],” Mourinho said. “And he had a yellow card so he was in a more difficult position than others.

“With only two midfield players, you cannot play with one at 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 everything was complicated. We were losing lots of balls, so by losing lots of balls, with turns 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 [had to be careful] because of the yellow card. In terms of the way he played he was not worse than some of the others who were on the pitch for 90 minutes.”