Manchester United host Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Sunday, their final Premier League game of 2016/17 season and United boss Jose Mourinho is already thinking of the Europa League final to be played 72 hours after.
United are currently without most of their key first team stars such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marco Rojo, Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia due to injury while Paul Pogba is in France for his dad’s funeral.
The situation forced Mourinho to play a weakened team in Wednesday night’s goalless draw at St Mary’s as well as the 2-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
And Mourinho hinted after the Southampton game that he will be compelled to play his youngsters for the Palace game as he as to rest the first-team starters for the Ajax crunch clash on Wednesday and has begged Eagles boss Sam Allardyce to be nice with kids by possibly leaving Belgian forward Christian Benteke out of the game.
“Sunday will be a big day for the kids because lots of them are going to play,” Mourinho told MUTV with a smile last night after Sergio Romero’s penalty save salvaged the Red Devils a point.
“I hope the crowd enjoys that in spite of it not being a big strong, Man United team and I hope Big Sam shows he’s really a friend and he goes slow and leaves [Christian] Benteke at home!” [Smiles].
Mourinho will be desperate to beat Ajax at the Friends Arena in Sweden next week to lift the Europa league for the first time in United’s history as it’s their only ticket to Champions League football next season after finishing outside the Premier League top four this term.