Jose Mourinho has come up against several problems during his time as manager of Manchester United. Firstly, he inherited a bloated squad from his predecessor, Louis van Gaal. He was subsequently unable to strengthen much beyond the four summer signings that he made this year, primarily due to the high wages that his players were on.
There’s also been a crisis of confidence at Old Trafford over the last three years, which Mourinho attempted to tackle head on in an effort to restore a sense of intimidation to a side that has been worryingly easy to disrupt since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
Unfortunately, Mourinho hasn’t been exempt from making mistakes either. Along with the frequency of his touchline outbursts, the Portuguese occasionally gets his team selection wrong. Sunday’s 1-1 draw against West Ham United saw several of the players that cut Feyenoord apart 4-0 in the Europa League three days previously, dropped; United lacked the same fluidity.
With that in mind, who should definitely feature against The Hammers in the EFL Cup quarter final tonight?
The United’s metronomic midfielder’s absence was keenly felt on Sunday. An injury to Carrick meant Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba sat a little deeper against West Ham, making United toothless in the process. Carrick’s ability to keep play ticking over, pick out the right pass and continue United’s momentum has been vital over the last few weeks, despite too many draws, and Mourinho will be hoping to add the 35-year old back into his line-up tonight.
A standout performers against Feyenoord, it wasn’t a surprise to see the player start a second game in three days. United missed his pace and creativity against West Ham.
Fans hope to see Mkhitaryan from kick-off tonight. Has he finally turned a corner during his time at Old Trafford? Will he feature more regularly involved in Mourinho’s first team plans? Starting tonight will answer those questions.
Now in his third season at the club, the former Athletic Bilbao midfielder has turned into a regular starter under Mourinho. An influential presence in United’s engine room, his energy and reliability, together with nitty-gritty defensive work underline his desire. Combined with an insatiable desire to wind up his opponents, he is a firm fan favourite. United need someone with his desire on the teamsheet.