Jose Mourinho has warned his stars there are no “untouchables” at Manchester United and no player will get special treatment.
There have been questions of late over the performances of midfielder Paul Pogba and striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the two most high-profile signings the club made over the summer, and Mourinho has stressed they are not “untouchable” players.
In 2006 that was how he described certain members of his side at Chelsea.
Asked on Wednesday if he had the same approach at United, with Pogba and Ibrahimovic mentioned specifically, Mourinho said: “No. That was a different Premier League and situation - it was the best team by far. It was a different story.
“Untouchable in our team has to be the spirit, the commitment, the pride, the commitment to the club, the respect to the fans - that has to be untouchable, not players.”
Mourinho was speaking ahead of tonight’s Europa League Group A clash with Fenerbahce at Old Trafford.
The Portuguese refused to confirm whether or not United captain Wayne Rooney, who has only featured as a substitute for the last four matches, would start against the Turkish side. “I don’t want to give you the team,” Mourinho said. “Wayne is positive and a good example. We count on him to start or be on the bench, but he will be there.”
United are third in Group A with three points from two games, a point behind leaders Fenerbahce, who have ex-United striker Robin van Persie in their squad.
Van Persie said last night he could have been lining up against Fenerbahce tonight if Alex Ferguson was still in charge of Manchester United.
The Dutch striker was voted United’s Player of the Year in his first season at Old Trafford in 2012-13 as the Red Devils won the title by 11 points. Ferguson retired at the end of that season and Van Persie struggled under new boss David Moyes and Dutchman Louis van Gaal, leaving for Turkey in July 2015 and has scored 17 goals in 35 appearances for the club so far.
Asked if he felt he would still be at United had Ferguson stayed on, Van Persie said: “We will never know.
“It could have been that I could have been a player for Manchester United today.
“When I signed that was the idea, that Sir Alex would stay on for a few more years, but in football things change, you can’t plan your own path or your coach’s path.”
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