José Mourinho warns no player is safe after West Brom loss
Man United manager says Bournemouth game will shape his team for Spurs semi
José Mourinho watches on during Manchester United’s 1-0 loss to West Brom. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty
José Mourinho has appeared to question the ambition of some Manchester United players after the defeat by West Bromwich Albion that left Manchester City Premier League champions.
The team who lost 1-0 at Old Trafford were all internationals and the manager offered an enlightening response on Monday when asked whether he was getting enough from experienced players. “Consistency has nothing to do with age,” he said. “It has to do with personality, has to do with the way you live for football, what is your priority in your life, what are your ambitions. This has nothing to do with age.
“I have met players of 30-years-old who were not consistent at all and I found boys of 18, 19, 20 who were real men, real pros. It is not about the age.”
Mourinho will make changes for the match at Bournemouth on Wednesday with a view to giving players the chance to make the side for the FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham on Saturday.
“Rotating is not the right word,” the manager said. “If I play a player against Bournemouth and the player is phenomenal, he plays in the semi-final. So it is not rotating, because rotating [sounds]like a player that plays against Bournemouth is to give a rest to somebody that is going to play in the semi-final. It is an opportunity for some people to play and try to get a place for Spurs.
“Some of the guys that played [against West Brom] don’t have a place in that team [for Bournemouth]. What is the criteria for a manager to choose a team? I only know one criteria: the way they play. Or do you want me to go for the price they cost, or their salary, or their beautiful face?”
Mourinho refused to single out Paul Pogba, indicating the midfielder was replaced after 58 minutes against West Brom because of a booking. “It was not just him [who was poor],” he said. “And he had a yellow card so he was in a more difficult position than others.
“With only two midfield players, you cannot play with one at risk of not being able to make a foul. You can do it if your team is not losing the ball, but our team was losing the ball so everything was complicated. We were losing lots of balls, so by losing lots of balls, with turns and flicks and tricks, the midfield players and central defenders are at risk of one touch, one late challenge and they are out.
“So Paul [had to be careful] because of the yellow card. In terms of the way he played he was not worse than some of the others who were on the pitch for 90 minutes.”