Belfast Telegraph

Major changes too big of a risk for Mourinho

By Simon Peach

Jose Mourinho has vowed not to over-rotate and gamble with Manchester United's chances of retaining the FA Cup.

Fresh from comprehensively winning the first leg of their Europa League last-32 clash with St Etienne, United turn their attention to the only major trophy they have won since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement.

Mourinho's side travel to Ewood Park looking to overcome Blackburn and reach the quarters tomorrow, though it would be tempting to rest players given a return in France and EFL Cup final against Southampton follow.

The Portuguese will make changes but promised to respect the FA Cup, having been burned in the fifth round against Newcastle 12 years ago.

With John Terry suspended, Mourinho chose to leave out Petr Cech, Frank Lampard and Claude Makelele, among others, and lost 1-0 at St James' Park.

"Yes, I threw it away," the United manager said. "In the same week was a Champions League tie against Barcelona and the cup final against Liverpool. I threw it away, I gambled too much.

"I focused too much on Barcelona and Liverpool. The feeling that I threw it away was not good.

"So I don't throw it away. If I lose, I lose because the opponent was better. We go to Blackburn with that respect. Plus, it's one thing at Old Trafford but another thing when you go away.

"But I'm going with a good team and I respect the competition."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph