Manchester United will field their strongest side at home to Hull City AFC in the Premier League on Wednesday despite manager Jose Mourinho’s concerns over their congested fixture list.
Striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, midfielder Paul Pogba, goalkeeper David de Gea and fullback Antonio Valencia are all likely to return after sitting out the FA Cup fourth-round victory over second-tier Wigan Athletic on Sunday.
“We always play a full strength team, it depends on the way you look at it but we always try to have a strong team,” Mourinho told reporters on Tuesday having last week complained about the club’s crazy fixture list.
“Of course, we have had some players that didn’t play the last match, some players with a lot of matches played already, like Valencia, Ibra, Pogba. Some of these players with lots of matches they didn’t play, but will play tomorrow.”
Wayne Rooney, who this month became United’s all-time top scorer to match his England achievement, has reportedly been offered a lucrative deal by a Chinese Super League club but Mourinho said his captain will not go anywhere this season.
Asked if Rooney would be staying until the end of the season, Mourinho said: “Yeah... We already lost two players (Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin) from the squad”.
The Portuguese coach, who also confirmed that Ashley Young will not be leaving the Old Trafford club, suggested he had already drawn up his transfer plans for the close season.
“We’re more focused on the summer period... If you ask me do I know what I want for the next transfer window? Yes I know. Is it possible to get? I’ll try, always, to be realistic,” he said.
United, who are still competing in the League Cup, FA Cup and Europa League, are sixth in the Premier League with 41 points while visitors Hull are second-bottom with 16 points.
But Mourinho’s side won’t underestimate the Tigers, who last week ended United’s 17-game unbeaten run in all competitions with a 2-1 win in a League Cup semi-final, second leg. United went through 3-2 on aggregate and will face Southampton.