Jose Mourinho to face challenge of a bloated squad during pre-season

by Leo Nieboer

Jose Mourinho will have to contend with a bloated squad when pre-season preparations begin over the next few days.

27 players, including the likes of Axel Tuanzebe, Demetri Mitchell and Angel Gomes, featured under the Portuguese last season amid a burgeoning injury crisis.

Sam Johnstone, Joe Riley, Andreas Pereira, Adnan Januzaj, Guillermo Varela, James Wilson and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson will all return from loan moves this week.

The Portuguese, therefore, faces a gruelling task: narrowing down a group exceeding well over 30 members down to 25 ahead of his side’s tour of the United States on Sunday.

Mourinho cannot avoid making tough decisions here. He will have to closely analyse the pool of youngsters at his disposal and decide which ones could make a meaningful contribution next season.

Two players that stick out immediately are Axel Tuanzebe and Andreas Pereira: the former was the side’s standout performer during his debut against Arsenal and looked increasingly at home in central midfield as Mourinho rested the likes of Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba during the latter stages of the campaign; Pereira took full advantage of his loan spell with Granada last season, developing a tangible air of menace to compliment his natural poise on the ball.

Adnan Januzaj, on the other hand, looks destined for a move away following a gloomy spell at Sunderland, whilst the likes of Riley, Varela and Wilson will struggle after spending the majority of last season on the treatment table.

You may also like