Mourinho suggests ‘selection headache’ ahead of Wembley clash with Spurs

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has spoken to the official Manchester United website about a selection headache ahead of the Premier League clash with Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on Wednesday evening. United signed Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal a week ago with the player making his debut in the 4-0 victory over Yeovil Town in the Emirates FA Cup on Friday evening. Mourinho has confirmed that he has so many fit players competing for a place in the match, it will be a selection headache for him.

Mourinho has confirmed that only Eric Bailly and Zlatan Ibrahimovic were the long-term absentees from his side ahead of the final match in January for his team. United are on a winning run this month, failing to concede a single goal since beating Everton 2-0 at Goodison Park on New Year’s Day. The Portuguese manager confirmed that there were no further injuries picked up over the weekend, which sees United in a good position ahead of the clash with Spurs. Mourinho said:

“We have no more injuries. It was a tough match at Yeovil, a difficult match, difficult conditions, but everything is good.”

When he was asked if the lack of additional injuries presented a positive problem for him ahead of the visit to Wembley this week, Mourinho said:

“Sure. The real headache is when you don’t have the players, so when you have so many injuries then you are in trouble. When almost everybody is available and the quality is high, these are the good problems to have.”

The manager also confirmed that there is a massive amount of confidence amongst his players after their winning start to 2018, in which United have played five matches already, winning all of them, scoring 12 goals without reply. United face Spurs on Wednesday, the final match of January and one they must win to keep their position in second place in the league with some distance between them, Chelsea and Liverpool, let alone Spurs. Mourinho said:

“We have managed to win every match in January, I think three Premier League matches and two cup matches, so five victories makes a happy camp. We are playing with a good balance. It is not easy to not concede goals because of the high quality of football in this country. Scoring goals and winning matches is very important because we need points. We are playing well and we deserved these results.”

The clash with Spurs will be played at Wembley, the North London clubs home for the season whilst White Hart Lane is being rebuilt. United have a great record at Wembley, winning twice in the stadium last season with United winning the FA Community Shield at the start of last season, then winning the EFL Cup last February. United also won the Emirates FA Cup at the national stadium at the end of the season prior to Mourinho appointment as United manager. The Portuguese boss knows that this match will be tough with Spurs holding the advantage. He said:

“I was at Wembley for Tottenham versus Chelsea and I had that feeling that Wembley is Spurs’ home, because it was full of their supporters. I am used to going to Wembley when it is 50/50 with supporters, so it was the first time I went like that. It is an amazing stadium and one for us to enjoy.

“Spurs are one of the top teams in the country. Not a title contender because they are too far away. But I say honestly they are a Champions League contender, they can reach that level. They have some of the best players in the country, a very good manager and a very difficult opponent.

“It is a really big game. The difference between us and Spurs is seven or eight points, but the reality is they are a top team in terms of their quality and ambitions, and a team of our level, so it is a big match.”

United currently sit 12 points adrift of Manchester City, who are the Premier League leaders so far this season. That is only a four-match cushion, which was higher before Pep Guardiola’s side lost to Liverpool earlier this month. United will face City again in April, and depending on how the distance between the two club fairs at that time, it could be something to put United in a better position, providing they continue to win their matches between now and then. United need to beat Spurs on Wednesday and see what West Bromwich Albion has to throw at City.

If the Baggies, who ripped apart Liverpool in the Emirates FA Cup this weekend, winning the match 3-2, play in the same vein, they may be able to get a result at the Etihad this week, which providing it happens and United beat Spurs, could see the deficit reduced again to nine points, which would signify a great week in the Premier League, also the end of a great month for United which has been marked by the signing of Alexis Sanchez and the renewal of Mourinho’s contract, keeping him at the Theatre of Dreams for up to three more years after this season.

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