Shortly after Manchester United’s resounding victory over Reading in the FA Cup’s third round, manager Jose Mourinho revealed that he is going all in Tuesday night in the EFL Cup semi-final. Today was the day for Manchester United to rest many of the regulars, and the team didn’t miss a step, as they demolished the Championship side 4-0.
Next up they’ll face Premier League relegation zone inhabitants Hull City in the EFL Cup, with the winner of Liverpool and Southampton awaiting them should they advance to the final.
The Portugese confirmed that Antonio Valencia, Ander Herrera, Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will all be in the first team start against the Tigers.
“I play with the players that didn’t play today,” said Mourinho to the club’s official website.
“I played with fresh players and I don’t want to say anything about first choice or second choice but we played with fresh players, the players who didn’t play against West Ham.
“In the next match against Hull City we are going to play again with fresh players. So it’s easy to know our team – Zlatan, Pogba, Herrera, Valencia. The guys that didn’t play today.”
Mourinho is fielding his strongest team possible on Tuesday night, with the hopes that his side will build up a big lead in the Old Trafford leg of the EFL Cup tie, and then be in a great position once the road leg commences. Of course, this is all about finding balance between the different competitions as United have the second of their two meetings with arch-rival Liverpool looming next Sunday (and of course another potential clash in the EFL Cup final next month).
For the Tigers, they must find competitive balance as well. While the EFL Cup may be important to them, they will prioritize next Saturday’s Premier League fixture against AFC Bournemouth above it, as they need to stay up in the top flight. They’re currently dead last, 20th of 20, and a demotion to the championship would be devastating.
“Hull face a semi-final, also a big occasion for them, and I don’t know maybe for them, it’s more important the match they have to play three or four days later in the Premier League [against Bournemouth],” he added.
“We play against Liverpool, a big match for us, but we want to be in the final. So we are going to face this Hull match with everything we have, all the power we have, as we know it’s two legs but the second leg is away. If we can do something in the first leg that gives us the advantage, so we will try to do that.”
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, currently contributes regularly to the Chicago Tribune’s RedEye publication.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks