'Don't kill me' for playing kids, begs Mourinho

Sports | May 19, 2017
Jose Mourinho says the English Premier League's unwillingness to help Manchester United prepare for their

Europa League final will force him to pick youth players against Crystal Palace on Sunday.

United finish their league campaign against Palace at Old Trafford before facing Ajax in the Europa League final in Stockholm on Thursday (HK time) - a game they must win to qualify for next season's Champions League.

With nothing riding on Sunday's match for either United or Palace, who are assured of avoiding relegation, Mourinho believes it should have been moved forward a day.

"In any country in the world, the match would be Saturday. We are sixth, doesn't matter what, and Crystal Palace is safe," the United manager said after the 0-0 draw at Southampton. "It's frustrating for me. And I hope you don't kill me when you see my team."

Asked if he had submitted a request for the game to be moved, Mourinho replied: "I don't lose time. When I know that the battle is lost, I don't fight the battle."

Mourinho said that in his seven years in England, he "never saw" teams involved in European competitions getting help from the Premier League. "So I think it's just a lost battle. We have to accept the way it is."

Mourinho confirmed that Sergio Romero will start the Europa League final, but rather than restore his usual No 1, David de Gea, to his starting lineup against Palace, he would hand a league debut to 20-year-old third- choice goalkeeper Joel Pereira.

Axel Tuanzebe, who has started United's last three league games, would be involved, along with his fellow academy graduates Demetri Mitchell, Scott McTominay, Matty Willock, Josh Harrop and Zachary Dearnley.

"I hope the fans at Old Trafford support the team, they forgive some naivety, they forgive some lack of confidence," Mourinho said.

"And I hope that Big Sam [Allardyce, the Palace manager] shows he is a good friend and he goes slow. He tells Wilfried Zaha to go slow, he leaves Christian Benteke at home. I hope he goes soft on us."


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June 2017