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The majority of Manchester United’s squad reportedly does not have the “full trust” of manager Jose Mourinho, who is said to be willing to sell almost all of his players aside from a select few.
United lost 1-0 at home to the Premier League’s bottom side West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, and The Independent’s Miguel Delaney wrote that “very few” players are assured of a place at Old Trafford beyond this summer.
The chosen stars that are said to have Mourinho’s backing are David De Gea, Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic, Jesse Lingard, Ashley Young and Juan Mata.
One particularly noticeable absentee from that list is Paul Pogba, whose exit has been rumoured in recent months, per BBC Sport, having struggled to impress in Manchester as he did at Juventus.
United’s defeat at Old Trafford on Sunday meant Manchester City were confirmed as Premier League title winners, with the Red Devils an unassailable 16 points off the pace with five games remaining.
Despite sitting second for much of the league campaign, Mourinho’s second term at Old Trafford hasn’t been that remarkable, and the manager relayed his dissatisfaction with the performance against West Brom, via ESPN FC:
ESPN FC @ESPNFC
Jose Mourinho and Manchester United this season.
It’s complicated. https://t.co/CdVB6HFKMU
Approaching the end of the term, Delaney described United’s 2017-18 season as “overwhelmingly disappointing” despite the fact the club has spent sums one would think capable of crafting a squad of the highest quality.
But ESPN FC’s Alex Shaw argued the current United setup has been far from entertaining, although he suggested Mourinho’s tactics are a large factor in that:
Alex Shaw @AlexShawESPN
“More points, more goals” seems a rather reductive way to claim some “improvement” under Mourinho at United. They’ve largely been poor to watch under him, he continues to be miserable and there’s barely a semblance of an attacking identity like City/Spurs/LFC
The Red Devils have spent a combined £165 million to sign Romelu Lukaku and Pogba, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan was sent to Arsenal in part to acquire Alexis Sanchez.
All three players started on Sunday and yet were unable to break down a West Brom defence that had kept one Premier League clean sheet in 2018 prior to the clash, although Lukaku and Sanchez are said to be among Mourinho’s trusted ranks.
The Times‘ Oliver Kay recently argued why big spending in the Premier League hasn’t been the best indicator of success of late:
Oliver Kay @OliverKayTimes
Most expensive signings in English football history: Pogba, Lukaku, Van Dijk, Di Maria, De Bruyne, Morata, Laporte, Sterling, Torres (to #cfc), Mendy, Walker, Stones, Lacazette. Not many huge successes among that lot. Why do people talk as if spending fortunes guarantees success?
If claims regarding those players who have Mourinho’s faith proves true, it means stars like Pogba, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford could face a fight to convince Mourinho of their worth before the summer transfer window opens in June.