Matteo Darmian has called on fringe players to make the most of their chance to impress Jose Mourinho again Burton Albion in the League Cup.
The Portuguese insisted ahead of a busy September month that he would rotate his squad and the clash with the Championship side serves as a chance to do exactly that.
Luke Shaw, Michael Carrick, Jesse Lingard and Scott McTominay could all receive a place in the starting XI for the first time this season, while Victor Lindelof will most likely start alongside Chris Smalling at the back.
And Darmian, speaking to United Review, emphasised the importance of all members of Mourinho’s squad being ready to assert themselves.
“We have a very good squad, 25 very good players, so every player is important, especially when we have seven games in 22 days,” he said.
“So everyone has to be ready, everyone will be ready. When the manager gives us the chance, we have to take it.”
“Every time I’m on the pitch, I try to do my best and try to help the team to achieve victory. That’s my mentality, to work hard during the week, so I’m ready if the manager gives me an opportunity.
“We’ve started very well, we are playing very well, so I hope we can continue. To do that, we need to work hard and that’s it, trying to win every game is not easy but we are ready for that challenge.”
Any manager who views the League Cup as an annoying hindrance is wasting a valuable opportunity. This is, without doubt, a second rate competition, but that doesn’t make it unimportant.
These games are valuable for players like Shaw, who could make his return from injury after four months on the sidelines. Others like Lingard and Lindelof – both yet to make their mark this season – will see the clash with Nigel Clough’s as a valuable opportunity to give their manager a few things to think about.
Supporters are likely to see a notably changed outfit against Burton, and they will, in turn, learn more about how ready this side really is to fight on four fronts this season.