Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho considering weakened team for Arsenal trip

James Benge

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is considering playing a weakened team for his side’s visit to Arsenal on Sunday.

United’s visit to the Emirates is bookended by both legs of their Europa League semi-final against Celta Vigo.

Were United to win that tournament they would be guaranteed qualification to the Champions League. Though they sit only a point behind local rivals Manchester City in fourth place Mourinho has previously intimated that a Europa League triumph may be his team’s best chance of returning to Europe’s leading club competition.

“Thinking about us as a team, winning this competition [the Europa League] would be a good achievement and would allow us to be back in the Champions League,” Mourinho said.

“If we have to rest players next weekend then we are going to do that.

“In the relation to the Premier League I think it is too late because in April we played nine matches, seven of them in the Premier League and we had too many problems. We had too many players absent.

“Because of that we had players who had to play 800 minutes of football and we paid the price.

“We played against fresh teams. In this moment the perspective is different because the Europa League becomes even more important for us and it is good to have three players back who give us more options.”

​Mourinho may already have been light on numbers for the trip to North London, with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw ruled out for the remainder of the season.

United were however able to welcome back record signing Paul Pogba and a trio of defenders including Eric Bailly to training ahead of their trip to Spain.

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