Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has offered a form of solution to United's personnel problems; to pick himself against Swansea.
United were without a number of the first-teamers for Thursday’s 0:0 draw at Manchester City and are thrust even thinner for Sunday’s match after Maroune Fellaini was shown a red card for a meaningless headbutt on Sergio Aguero and Tim Fosu-Mensah injured his calf after coming off the bench later on.
The problem United have us that Paul Pogba, Juan Mata and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are all out and are even more critical behind, with Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Marcos Rejoined all sidelined.
That will leave 19-year-old Axel Tuanzebe next in line should Eric Bailly or Daley Blind need a rest, and Mourinho even joked about a more rigorous decision.
“In this moment it’s the only option we have: Axel, Eric and Daley. I have to speak with them and see how they are and how they feel. I’m also training hard in the gym so I can be an option also,” he said.
“Mourinho and Tuanzebe against Swansea.”
The fixture list is not helping the Portuguese boss manage his overfamiliar squad, with a Europa League semi-final against Celta Vigo this coming Thursday.
And another possible beneficiary of the problems is Wayne Rooney, who has been struggling for game time even in his current circumstances.
The Manchester derby was once his favourite play but he was restricted to a brief jog up the touchline at the Etihad Stadium, where he was later not used at all.
With Fellaini’s suspension, it could see a temporary return to the midfield role Rooney played for United and England last season.
“Yeah, it’s an option,” said Mourinho. “We don’t have (other options).
“We have (Ander) Herrera and (Michael) Carrick and nothing else. We are in trouble, but we fight. That’s for sure.”
The dilemmas facing United’s boss bags questions over his willingness to move Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin on earlier in the campaign.
Mourinho does not consider it as a bad plan, though, instead crediting it to ill fortune and Schneiderlin’s restlessness when Everton paid a visit.
“We didn’t tell Morgan ‘we want to sell you’. Morgan asked us, ‘Please sell me. I want to go, I want to play every game’,” he said.
“To have lots of players not playing is something the players don’t want. So sometimes there’s always this dilemma of (wanting to) keep a bigger squad, but the players don’t want to stay. Even sometimes young players, when they are not playing, they ask to leave.”