Jose Mourinho pitchside during a Champions League match

Teams: Mourinho explains Lingard selection

Wednesday 07 November 2018 19:42

Jose Mourinho explained the reason for giving Jesse Lingard his first start since September, after United's line-up for the Champions League clash with Juventus was announced.

The United boss cited the creativity of the fit-again attacker as the kind of ingredient he felt his team needed for the Wednesday-night test in Turin, and he certainly seems delighted to have Lingard available again. The no.14's inclusion ahead of Juan Mata, and Ander Herrera starting in place of Fred, are the two changes from the line-up that defeated Bournemouth on Saturday.

"Jesse has been working with the team for a few weeks," explained Mourinho, in a pre-match interview with BT Sport.

"He hasn't been playing for many minutes but he's coming back step by step. The injury was not an easy one, it's one that needs a little bit of time.

“But we think this is the kind of game where we need his creativity and hopefully he has the confidence to face a difficult opponent in a difficult stadium. We hope he can bring some creativity at some stage.”

After losing out to Juve at home two weeks ago, Mourinho and his men are determined to take something from the Allianz Stadium this evening, although he expects the battle for qualification for the last 16 to go to the wire.

“It's important but it's not crucial,” reasoned the boss. “We will not leave this stadium qualified but we will also not leave this stadium in the Europa League or outside European competitions.

"Whatever the result, the situation will be open for us. 
“We still need to play two more matches and I think the deciding one will be the last one in Valencia. But at the moment we're not thinking about the Young Boys match or the Valencia match, we're focusing on this one.”

Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri spoke before the game about the threat United pose with pace and when asked if this will be key this evening, Jose added: “We tried it at home. We played with [Juan] Mata behind three attacking players. We tried that connection and the three attacking players were good players.

"We didn't have the players on the bench to make a change, we didn't have that.

“We had an attacking team on the pitch but Juventus were very strong in the way they controlled the game. Can it be different tonight? I don't know. The only thing I know is that I have Marcus Rashford on the bench who can play in three attacking positions. He gives me an alternative for the second part of the game.”
Allegri has made two changes to the Juventus side which won at Old Trafford, with German international Sami Khedira replacing France midfielder Blaise Matuidi and Mattia De Sciglio coming in for João Cancelo at right-back. The omitted pair are both among the hosts' substitutes.

Szczesny, De Sciglio, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alex Sandro, Khedira, Pjanic, Bentancur, Cuadrado, Dybala, Ronaldo. Substitutes: Perin, Benatia, Matuidi, Barzagli, Mandžukić, João Cancelo, Rugani.

United: De Gea, Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw, Herrera, Matic, Pogba, Lingard, Alexis, Martial. Substitutes: Romero, Bailly, Darmian, Fred, Fellaini, Mata, Rashford.