Manchester United expected 4-3-3 v Reading: Mourinho rings the changes
By Dominic Toner
Jose Mourinho is expected to make nine changes to the Manchester United starting line-up for the FA Cup third-round tie against Reading.
The Red Devils welcome the Championship opposition for the cup, who are managed by ex-defender Jaap Stam.
Reading are currently flying high in England’s second tier and are third in the table, but United will still start as firm favourites for the game at Old Trafford.
Mourinho is set to give most of his senior stars a rest following a busy festive period and make nine alterations from the team that beat West Ham on Monday.
Sergio Romero, Ashley Young, Chris Smalling and Daley Blind are set to come into the defence, while David De Gea, Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo are rested.
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It is also expected that Marouane Fellaini, Bastian Schweingsteiger, Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are recalled, while Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick, Jesse Lingard, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are rested.
That leaves Matteo Darmian and Paul Pogba as the only survivors from the West Ham victory to complete what is still a strong team.
Mourinho will be keen to rest players against Reading as they have an important game against Hull just three days later in the EFL Cup.
United face Hull in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final and Mourinho will be desperate to win some silverware in his first season at the club.
They also face Liverpool in the Premier League the following weekend and will be keen to keep their title aspirations alive with a much-needed victory over their rivals.
Experienced campaigners Ibrahimovic and Carrick are expected to get a much needed rest against Reading, while several fringe players are given the chance to impress and Rashford is rewarded for his role off the bench in the West Ham win.
In other Manchester United news, Gary Lineker has made a prediction on the future of the club’s attacker.