Jose Mourinho insists fringe players will continue to feature this season despite Bristol City nightmare

by Leo Nieboer

Jose Mourinho has noted that fringe players would continue to receive chances this season despite Manchester United’s poor performance against Bristol City on Wednesday.

Romeu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata, Chris Smalling, Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jesse Lingard were all absent from the starting XI that surrendered a miserable 2-1 defeat at Ashton Gate.

The 54-year-old intimated after the game that those who featured on Wednesday would not receive another chance at the Kingpower stadium.

But Mourinho, when asked about the future of his fringe players, insisted that the capitulation against Bristol wouldn’t see them pushed further to the periphery as a result.

“No. I don’t make decisions based on only one game or one feeling or one night, not at all,” he said.

“First of all you always like to speak about the loser, probably you should speak more about the winner, what I told after the match.

“They were lucky but they fought a lot to try to be lucky and is one of the beautiful things that can happen in football when a team from a lower division kills the giant.

“Football has changed so much lower division is more professional and that could happen even more, I could be critical with my players but they did enough to win, they lost when they were the only team people believed could win.

“So we move on and we move on quickly because we have another match.”

You can understand why Mourinho is eager to return to his primary options ahead of a busy week and following a performance that, above anything, lacked a tangible sense of drive and belief.

Daley Blind and Matteo Darmian, for example, did their murky futures at Old Trafford no favours whatsoever, while Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial genuinely didn’t look like they wanted to be there at times.

That said, supporters will want to see Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay, who both impressed with dedicated, efficient displays, receive further minutes off the back of this game.

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