Jose Mourinho

Mourinho explains team changes for Spurs test

Jose Mourinho made six changes to his Manchester United side to face Spurs at Old Trafford, following the disappointing 3-2 defeat at Brighton in the previous match.

Returning after injuries to make their first appearances of the season are Nemanja Matic and captain Antonio Valencia.

Serbian midfielder Matic was forced to have abdominal surgery during the summer after he returned from playing for his national team at the World Cup finals in Russia. Valencia had to fly back from United’s pre-season tour of America with a calf problem. Both have recently returned to full training.

United captain Antonio Valencia warms up for his first game of the season.

Phil Jones wasn’t involved in either of United’s first two matches of the campaign against Leicester City and Brighton but he is in the starting XI.

Chris Smalling, who has a history of great form against Tottenham's dangerman Harry Kane, was on the bench at the Amex Stadium last Sunday but is restored to the side.

Ander Herrera is also named in the starting line-up following his recall to the squad at Brighton after injury.

Jesse Lingard made his maiden appearance of the new term at Brighton, when he was brought on as a substitute at half-time, so his start against Spurs is his first of the season.

Ashley Young, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Andreas Pereira, Juan Mata and Anthony Martial, who all began the match at Brighton, have made way for the six players coming into Mourinho's side to face Spurs.

When asked in a post-match interview why he had made so many changes, Mourinho replied:
“If we don't play well and make mistakes we change the team. The match before we played well, no mistakes, total control and a deserved victory and we didn't change the team.

The United boss refuted the suggestion it was a risk to bring in six players at once, saying: ”
If I don't play Valencia when he's ready, Matic when he's ready, Lingard when he's ready, I don't think you would accept this. You would ask why important players are not in the team if they are ready to play.


On the topic of Matic taking back his customary place in midfield from Andreas Pereira, Jose explained: ”
Matic is a player that gives us balance and brings experience to the team. The kid Andreas was playing really well for us but Matic has a different... I wouldn't say different level of quality, but I would say a different level of experience.


Phil Jones, Luke Shaw and Jesse Lingard
Phil Jones prepares to start against Spurs.

The boss would not be drawn on the formation fans could expect to see, after some pre-match chatter on social media predicted a place for Matic in the heart of the defence.

“You can expect 11 players,” he replied with a smile. “I hope to see 11 players fighting hard with a greater organisation that we trained on during the week, so that when we don't have the ball, we try to stop a fantastic opponent.

But I also expect a team of 11, including the goalkeeper, that works hard to be involved in an attacking dynamic when we have the ball. We need to score goals to win.

United:
De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Shaw, Matic, Fred, Pogba, Herrera, Lingard, Lukaku.

Substitutes: Grant, Lindelof, Young, Alexis, Rashford, Fellaini, McTominay.

Jose Mourinho was speaking to Sky Sports reporter Geoff Shreeves.

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