Does José Mourinho Have The Right To Select A “Weakened” Team For Certain Manchester United Games?

Posted: May 7, 2017 in Arsenal, Chelsea, European Football, Jose Mourinho, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League
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In all fairness, ANY manager at ANY club has the right to select whichever team he feels is appropriate for the game ahead.

Sure, there will be “first choice” elevens which, in the manager’s opinion is his “best” combination of players. This combination will not always be the right one for different opponents. Therefore, the manager has to have the right to make changes.

The question only becomes inflammatory when wholesale changes are made in order to “protect” some players for games further down the line which are deemed to be more important.

Then we see the double standards of the great English press and some supporters. These are people who will criticise coaches like Mourinho for not giving kids a chance and then criticise him for fielding a weakened team when he does. Talk about a no-win situation!

Managers at most Premier League clubs are long past being bothered about what the papers say and couldn’t really care less about journalists, with no first hand football experience, either praising their team or vilifying it. These, after all, are people who, in the main, weren’t even good enough to play the game at non-league level and yet here they are commenting on the top clubs in the world. In fact the description “football journalist” should be regarded as an oxymoron.

Football managers at the top level will have squads of up to 25 players. The coach has every right to use every one of them if he so wishes. If he is not supposed to use them then why allow such a large squad?

The other question is whether there actually is a necessity to continually change the team. Back in the sixties and seventies, (which is about as far back as this publication can go), there was always a sigh of disappointment around Old Trafford if any changes had been made, even enforced ones. Generally speaking the first team was the first team and played every week subject to staying fit.

It didn’t matter which trophy was at stake. The League, the League Cup, the FA Cup and the European Cup were all contested by the same eleven players if they remained fit throughout the competition. George Best, Denis Law, Bobby Charlton et al were never “rested” for the simple reason that two games of football per week didn’t tire them out!

Certainly the game was not played at the same pace as it is now, but it was played on muddy, waterlogged pitches, which froze over in Winter. The boots and balls were a fair bit heavier which is evidenced by the fact that goalkeepers could not reach the halfway line when taking a goal kick. Players got injured but never tired, this is a modern phenomenon. Also, as has been said before, it is never the players who use the excuse of tiredness, it is always the managers.

Assuming that there is some truth in the rumour that the modern day footballer is prone to being tired out having spent, on some occasions,180 minutes per week running round a field chasing a ball, then the coach has to be left to make the decision about whether or not these players are in need of a lie-in.

It is the manager who will be sacked if he gets these decisions wrong and, to the same extent, it is the manager who is paid the millions to make these decisions so it is hardly surprising that he fails to heed the advice of the press when making his team selection. After all, the press does not include many world class ex-football managers!

So José Mourinho will pick the team which he thinks will give Manchester United the best chance of success, whether this be a long term solution or just for one game. The interests of the club and it’s supporters will always be put first and this has to be the way.

Success, at the top level nowadays, is measured by the number of trophies won. Fans will not remember the different team selections throughout the season, they will just remember what was won. This is why every manager should be allowed to choose whoever he wishes during the course of a season, without any criticism from people who know very little about the game.


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