José Mourinho may recall Mkhitaryan for quarter-final

United boss intends to rotate squad as much as he can before Christmas glut of fixtures

 Henrikh Mkhitaryan of Manchester United against  Crystal Palace  in September. The Armenian has  played only once since United’s defeat at Chelsea on November 5th.  Photograph: Getty Images

Henrikh Mkhitaryan of Manchester United against Crystal Palace in September. The Armenian has played only once since United’s defeat at Chelsea on November 5th. Photograph: Getty Images

 

English League Cup quarter-final

Bristol City v Manchester United

Venue: Ashton Gate

Kick off: 8pm

On TV: Sky Sports Main Event

José Mourinho has said he will consider recalling Henrikh Mkhitaryan to the Manchester United side for the English League Carabao Cup quarter-final at Bristol City on Wednesday. The Armenian has yet to make an appearance this month, and has played only once since United’s defeat at Chelsea on November 5th.

However, Mourinho intends to rotate his squad as much as he can before the festive glut of fixtures.“Henrikh has a chance – I intend to make a few changes for the match but not too many,” Mourinho said. “Bristol City are one of the best teams in the Championship, and the Championship today is not what it was five or six years ago. Today the Championship is full of high quality players, and you have to treat all its teams with respect.”

Mkhitaryan is not the only United player to have been used sparingly in recent weeks. Daley Blind has mostly appeared in Champions League and English Cup matches this season and has not had a Premier League outing since September, while Luke Shaw has played only four times this season.

Ander Herrera could step down for the Bristol City game to make way for Paul Pogba, back after suspension, and with the French midfielder in the side United ought be to be a little more forceful and creative than they have been of late. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, an unused substitute at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, could also feature in Mourinho’s cup side.

Cup holders

United are the League Cup holders, and Mourinho usually takes the first domestic prize on offer seriously. While his side are second in the Premier League table, this would not be a great time to go out of a knockout competition to Championship opponents.

United are not playing badly. Since the defeat at Chelsea they have only lost one Premier League game, admittedly the Manchester derby against City, and at least a cup tie gives Mourinho a break from being asked about whether he has given up hope of catching Pep Guardiola’s team in the league.

“There is nothing I can do about that situation except keep going,” he said. “That is what we intend to do. People are saying the title race is over, but I don’t think this is the time to go on holiday. We don’t want to go on holiday. We want to carry on winning as many of our matches as possible.”

– Guardian

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