Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has some decisions to make over who will start the Europa League Final against Ajax on 24 May.
Despite a poor pair of results against Arsenal and Tottenham, where two defeats ended hopes of a top-four finish, in the middle of their London struggles United were able to turn back the challenge of Spanish side Celta Vigo to book their place in Stockholm.
Frenchman Anthony Martial impressed for United against Tottenham, where United were unable to stop Spurs’ time at White Hart Lane ending on a high.
It has been an up and down season for Martial, who did not feature against Celta. Jesse Lingard’s poor performance at Spurs has given Martial hope of starting against Ajax.
Mourinho said of Martial’s performance: “Yeah, he was good, he was good. He was okay against Arsenal, he was okay too.
“Against Celta he didn’t play because the options were different but he’s fine, he’s fine and he’s one of the guys for who it’s very important to play ninety minutes.
“Smalling, Jones, Mata, for them it’s very important to play ninety minutes.”
Mourinho went on to defend his rotation policy, which seemed to play a part in United apparently sacrificing their top-four ambitions for a shot a Champions League qualification through the Europa League, which offers an automatic place in next season’s Champions League to the winners next week.
“It’s all so difficult,” he wailed. “I am also giving one day holiday, a la carte, if you understand what I mean. Monday Blind, one day off, Monday Mkhitaryan one day off. He played 90 minutes, or 70, and now 30 more. Herrera one day off.
“But the guys who played 90 minutes I cannot give one day off if I want them to play against Southampton and they need two recovering days. It is a la carte and trying to have the people the best they can.
“But one day off you are right. Sometimes you need a day off and they don’t know what a day off is. So this is a period in one week when I have to give one day off and now I give a day off to Valencia. It has to be.
“And against Crystal Palace two or three more and against Southampton two or three more and that’s to try to arrive in the final in the best possible conditions.”
By Steve Osborne @BlizzardSteve75