After Sunday’s 4-0 defeat at the hands of Chelsea, Jose Mourinho couldn’t really afford to take a chance with his starting XI for Manchester United’s EFL Cup fourth round tie with Manchester City. The club’s fans, whilst hardly impatient, had already seen their team lose to Pep Guardiola’s side in early September, whilst also drawing 0-0 with Liverpool barely a week before, so a response was needed. That might explain why Mourinho only made four changes to the side that started the game at Stamford Bridge, with the Portuguese likely prioritizing that fixture over Saturday’s Premier League clash with Burnley as opposed to using it as an opportunity to field youngsters and fringe players, as Guardiola did by making nine changes.
The Burnley game will be particularly interesting, purely because changes will need to be made in order to keep United fresh, and given that they currently sit in seventh place in the Premier League, six points behind City for the top spot, a response will be needed. United have won once in their last six league games and will be looking to put the Lancashire side to the sword. With that in mind, here’s how we think Mourinho should set out his side:
David De Gea was wisely picked ahead of Sergio Romero on Wednesday night, and will almost certainly continue in goal. Chris Smalling rested for what was one of his worst performances to date in a United shirt should come back into the side, although Marcos Rojo’s partnership with Daley Blind was relatively solid against City. In an effort to rest Antonio Valencia, Timothy Fosu-Mensah could be drafted in at right back, or even Matteo Darmian should Mourinho choose.
Midfield should see Marouane Fellaini reinstated to the starting XI, with Ander Herrera now becoming a key man for his manager. Paul Pogba should continue in the number ten role, but who to play ahead of him? Zlatan Ibrahimovic looked visibly tired at points on Wednesday night, so perhaps it’s time to pick Marcus Rashford in a position where he has arguably been at his most devastating during his time at United. Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who have both struggled for minutes of late should be given a chance to impress and will provide able back-up to the England striker with their pace.
What do you think of this starting XI? Let us know in the comments below!