Mourinho to rotate players for CSKA with City looming

LONDON • Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho hinted that he will rotate his squad for their final Champions League group game against CSKA Moscow today.

United just have to avoid losing by more than six goals at home in order to top Group A. And with the top-of-the-Premier League table showdown against Manchester City looming on Sunday, Mourinho revealed that Sergio Romero will get a rare start in goal and left-back Luke Shaw will also feature.

The Portuguese also said that Paul Pogba will start today, but he refused to confirm if United appealed against the red card the midfielder received last weekend.

United had until 9pm (Singapore time) yesterday to decide whether to lodge an appeal.

Pogba on Champions League duty could suggest the club have accepted his suspension for United's next three domestic games, which include matches against Bournemouth and West Bromwich Albion.

"A couple of other guys are playing every match and they also need a rest," Mourinho added yesterday in his press conference.

"More importantly, the others deserve an opportunity to play."

Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini remain out.

Midfielder Nemanja Matic will definitely play no part due to injury, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not ready to face CSKA but could play a part against City.

"Not injured," Mourinho said of the striker, who made his return from a nine-month lay-off with a serious knee injury as a late substitute in last month's 4-1 win over Newcastle United. "He needs very hard work on the muscular area that supports the knee that had a problem.

"When the period for that hard work comes, so does fatigue. He cannot play for these days. His cycle of work will be over after CSKA."

United are unbeaten in 20 European home games, but CSKA have won all four matches on their travels this season, having come through two rounds of qualifiers.

For the Russians to pip Basel to the other qualifying spot they need to better the Swiss club's result away to pointless Benfica.

Despite his intention to rest players, Mourinho insisted that United are not thinking about their neighbours just yet.

"Easy, easy. We are used to it," he said of focusing on CSKA. "It's just the next match, we don't think about the next, next. It's just about tomorrow. I will make a few but not too many changes."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2017, with the headline 'Mourinho to rotate players for CSKA with City looming'. Print Edition | Subscribe