Jose Mourinho taking Burton Albion seriously but will rotate his squad


Manchester United take on Championship side Burton Albion at Old Trafford in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening, the third successive home match in a row. United have a great record at the Theatre of Dreams this season, winning all four matches played, scoring 13 goals without reply, 19 in total across all matches played, four goals conceded. Old Trafford is starting to look like the fortress it was under the leadership of Sir Alex Ferguson, which is what Jose Mourinho and his players wanted to achieve on the way of putting United at the pinnacle of English football once again.

It was expected that Mourinho would relax his starting XI for the visit of the Brewers and Axel Tuanzebe could have been in with a shout of playing for the first team again, playing a few times towards the end of last season, doing well in each position he featured in, which was not limited to a defensive role, also playing in the midfield. Tuanzebe, who did not feature for the U23’s in their 2-2 draw with Chelsea on Monday evening will not feature against Burton either, suffering with a back problem. David De Gea, Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly and Nemanja Matic will also be handed a night off, giving them time to rest ahead of the trip to St Mary’s to face Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.

Speaking to the official Manchester United website about his team selection for the Carabao Cup match against Burton Albion, Mourinho said:

“I gave two days off only to four players. Apart from that, everybody is selected. Do you want to know which four? De Gea, Valencia, Matic and Bailly.”

United won the EFL Cup last season, beating Southampton 3-2 at Wembley and Mourinho was asked whether he would be taking the competition, now renamed, seriously. Mourinho confirmed:

“Oh, yes. Serious. Because its football, it’s competition. We take it seriously.

“Of course, we’re not playing David or Bailly but, if we go to the next round, probably these guys will play and I will give a rest to others. Our squad is good. 

“We don’t have 30 players, we have what we have, and a couple of injuries right now with Paul Pogba and Axel Tuanzebe. So we need some of the players that played on Sunday to play and we need some to be on the bench. 

“We need to be with a strong team. I know the quality of the Championship and I know, if we don’t take the game seriously, we are going to lose.”

Tuanzebe is hoping his injury will not keep him out for too long as he wants to impress Mourinho during the course of the season, which after Marcos Rojo has returned could be difficult for the Academy graduate with United having Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Daley Blind all vying for a position in United’s defence which could put Tuanzebe into a different position, possibly as a right-back of a defensive-minded midfielder, but Antonio Valencia, Nemanja Matic and Michael Carrick could keep him from starting. Tuanzebe said”

“I’ve been struggling with my back, but the rehab’s going well and, behind the scenes, everyone is doing a good job.”

United will be seeking another win this evening, they have drawn 0-0 with Burton Albion before in the FA Cup away from home, beating the club 5-0 at the Theatre of Dreams. Whatever team Mourinho selects will be up for the task of putting them into the fourth round draw of the Carabao Cup this season with Mourinho’s team looking to retain the trophy they won at Wembley in February.

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