Jose Mourinho to drop superstars in FA Cup semi-final, as season threatens to collapse

Manchester United are under the threat of finishing the 2017/18 campaign on a real low. The Red Devils handed the title to Man City on Sunday with a shocking 1-0 defeat at home to bottom club West Bromwich Albion. They put in a dismal performance, and were guilty of still living the fairytale from last week, when they beat City 3-2 away from home to delay the party. This result means that United are only one point ahead of 3rd placed Liverpool, albeit having played a game less. Any further slip-ups will certainly see Jurgen Klopp’s pounce and overtake them.

The only piece of silverware Jose Mourinho can win now is the FA Cup. United face Tottenham Hotspur in the semi-final next Sunday, and according to the Telegraph, a whole host of superstars are set to be dropped for that one. Paul Pogba, who was brilliant against City last week and scored a brace, was back to his lethargic self against West Brom. Against a midfield of Chris Brunt and Jake Livermore, he found himself laboring to keep up with the pace of the game, before being substituted in the 58th minute. He was on a booking as well, and Mourinho felt there was the genuine chance of him getting sent off. His midfield partner Ander Herrera was another player guilty of not showing up, with the Spaniard being hauled off at half-time.

Alexis Sanchez was another player who really turned it on against City, but looked lackluster and clueless the following week. The Chilean has experience a very tough start to his life at Old Trafford following his move from Arsenal in January. The 29 year-old has scored just twice so far despite starting every game since joining.

Another player whose place on Sunday is under threat is Juan Mata, who put out a very mediocre showing against Albion.

Mourinho has never cared too much for reputation and has made it very clear that he will pick players for the semi-final purely based on performance. United travel to Bournemouth on Wednesday night, and this game could be the final chance for some of the above-mentioned “stars” to prove that they care for the badge.

“Rotating is not the right word – if I play a player against Bournemouth and the player is phenomenal, he plays the semi-final,” said Mourinho. “So it is not rotating, because rotating looks like a player that plays against Bournemouth is to give a rest to somebody that is going to play against Spurs in the semi-final.

“So the word is not rotation – it is an opportunity for people, for some people to play and to try to get a place in the team for Spurs, and some of the guys who played [against West Brom] don’t have a place in that team [against Spurs]. They don’t have a place in that team.”

Youngster like Scott McTominay, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial could all be in line for opportunities at Wembley. If Mourinho doesn’t get it right though, he is sure to be the brunt of a lot of criticism following a trophyless campaigns despite some heavy spending in his two seasons at the club.

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