Jose Mourinho hinted at it earlier today, and now he’s confirmed it.
Manchester United is just a single point behind rivals Manchester City in the Premier League table with three matches remaining, but the Red Devils boss is giving up on the league to focus on European glory.
After Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Celta Vigo in the first leg of their Europa League semifinal matchup in Spain, Mourinho confirmed he will rest his most important players against Arsenal in Premier League play this weekend.
“The players that have accumulated lots of minutes are not going to play next weekend,” said Mourinho. “It’s what I have to do, so I’m going to do it.”
The outfield players with the most minutes this season for Manchester United who are currently fit include Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera, and Antonio Valencia, who have all accumulated over 3,500 minutes across all competitions. Daley Blind and Eric Bailly have each played just under 3,000 minutes, but they are less likely to be rested with Manchester United thin at defense. Marcus Rashford could sit as he was withdrawn in the final 10 minutes of the Celta Vigo game with a pained look on his face.
“He started the game with a little problem,” Mourinho told BT Sport when asked about Rashford’s withdrawal. “And obviously with the running and continuity he was feeling and [Anthony] Martial was fresh and he had to give us the last 10 or 15 minutes where we thought we could still score because of plenty of space to play.”
Expect players like Martial or Jesse Lingard to see time against Arsenal, along with Henrikh Mkhitaryan who has impressed in European action but has seen less time in Premier League play of late. Marouane Fellaini‘s red card suspension lasts two more games, limiting the midfield depth available to rest players such as Pogba.