José Mourinho says he would have no problem dropping the club’s big-name stars such as Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic as Manchester United have no “untouchables” in their squad.
Instead, the manager pointed to the collective qualities of the team being “non-negotiatable”.
This strategy marks a significant change from his first spell in charge of Chelsea when he named nine Chelsea players who were undroppable from his strongest XI.
Asked if United also have untouchable players, possibly including record signing Pogba and the talismanic Ibrahimovic, the manager said: “That was 11 years ago, a different Premier League and situation – it was the best team by far.
“Untouchable in our team has to be the spirit, the commitment, the pride, the commitment to the club, respect to the fans. That has to be untouchable, not players.”
United skipper Wayne Rooney was dropped by Mourinho and the Portuguese Mourinho refused to confirm if the captain will return to the side against Fenerbahce in Thursday night’s Europa League group game at Old Trafford.
“I don’t want to give you the team, honestly,” Mourinho said. “Wayne is working well – he’s one of the big responsible people for the atmosphere that the players can breathe because he’s positive, he’s a good example. We count on him to start or be on the bench, but he will be there tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, the plane transporting the Fenerbahce team from Turkey for Thursday’s game was forced into an unscheduled landing in Budapest after after a bird struck and cracked the aircraft’s windscreen.
Kafilemizi Manchester'a götüren uçağın camına kuş çarpması nedeniyle, uçak Budapeşte'ye zorunlu iniş yaptı. Endişe verici bir durum yok. pic.twitter.com/tYhUWp2omJ
— Fenerbahçe SK (@Fenerbahce) October 19, 2016