Mourinho makes two changes to face Chelsea
Luke Shaw and Nemanja Matic have both recovered from injuries picked up during the international break to start for Manchester United against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Shaw, who plays fresh from signing his new Reds contract, was forced to sit out England's recent UEFA Nations League fixtures due to a knock, whilst Matic returned to the Aon Training Complex to recover from an injury he picked up while away with Serbia, but both are in the United XI for this afternoon’s crunch clash.
The only two changes to the starting line-up following the impressive 3-2 win over Newcastle United sees Victor Lindelöf come in for Eric Bailly and former Blues star Juan Mata, who was a catalyst for the comeback victory over the Magpies, replace Scott McTominay who was injured during the international break.
Ander Herrera has recovered from a recent ankle problem and takes his place on the Reds' substitutes bench alongside the likes of Fred, Andreas Pereira and the Reds' match winner against Newcastle, Alexis Sanchez.
The United boss was interviewed by Sky Sports before the match and was asked when he selected his team, given a number of players have only just returned from the international break.
“A couple of days ago [I picked the team],” replied Mourinho.
“We had still a couple of training sessions, obviously not at a high intensity but we managed to do some tactical work,” he said.
Asked if his selection was influenced by the fact six players who start today did not travel with their countries, the boss responded:
“It's not a specific plan, it's also about the players we have available.
”We lost a lot of players in their national teams, especially in the Fellaini case when he was injured on Thursday last week and we only realised he was injured on Wednesday this week. So it was not easy with some players. Alexis came direct from Mexico to London, he didn't even go to Manchester, we didn't even know his condition, but that's the way it is with international football.
Juan Mata comes back into the United XI after impressing off the bench against Newcastle and the boss admits the Spaniard has deserved his recall.
”Mata is Mata. Mata is one of our, I like to call them, team players,
“ Mourinho continued.He's always available for the team, he thinks about the team, he's not selfish or an ego-centric personality, he just wants to help.
“Sometimes he starts, sometimes he comes from the bench. Mata is always what I like to call a proper professional.”
Today's match against Chelsea is the first of two huge clashes, with Juventus to follow and Mourinho reveals he enjoys the big stage.
“This [Chelsea] is always a big match. The fact is, that in three days, we have probably at this moment the best team in this country and probably in Juventus the best team in Europe with only victories in every match. That at least gives to me a sense of happiness of wanting to play, wanting to enjoy and wanting to see the distance between them and us.
”These are fantastic matches when you just want your players to be in the top of their level because if they are not, you have no chance of winning against these teams. But the feeling to play against the best teams is, I think, a good feeling.
Mourinho of course returns to Stamford Bridge and he admits he has a lot of respect for his former employers.
“No it's just my respect for the place and my respect for the people that supported me every day of my life at Chelsea,” he said.
“Just a feeling of respect.I cannot promise, but I hope that if my team scores a goal, I will try to behave. If my team wins the match, I promise to try to be respectful because that's the way they always were with me. If they are not respectful because now I am a Manchester United man, that's another story. But the reality is that in every day of my life at Stamford Bridge, the fans were always behind me.
United: De Gea, Young (c), Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw, Mata, Matic, Pogba, Rashford, Lukaku, Martial.
Substitutes: Romero, Bailly, Darmian, Fred, Herrera, Pereira, Alexis.
Chelsea have made two changes following their win over Southampton.
Chelsea: Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta (c), Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Willian, Hazard, Morata.
Substitutes: Caballero, Zappacosta, Cahill, Fabregas, Barkley, Pedro, Giroud.
Mourinho was speaking to Sky Sports.