Jose Mourinho has informed his Manchester United players that he wishes to work with a first-team group of just 24.
Mourinho, who used just 22 players when leading Chelsea to the 2014/15 Premier League title, will seek to use a similarly ‘small, tight-knit group’ at Old Trafford.
Joe Bernstein claims that the Portuguese will select just 24 players for his first team, and ‘will allow anyone outside that to leave the club or train with the under 21s’. He prefers to work with a smaller group as opposed to a ‘bloated squad with players frustrated at a lack of game-time’.
Mourinho’s predecessor, Louis van Gaal, used a total of 33 players in the Premier League this past season, as the Dutchman struggled with a spate on injuries and relied on youth-team players to supplement his senior squad.
His successor ‘believes that is far too many to encourage organisation and team spirit’, and will therefore make widespread changes to the current squad.
Guillermo Varela and Tyler Blackett are expected to be two of the initial casualties, while three youngsters – Joe Rothwell, Ashley Fletcher and Tyler Reid – were sold on Tuesday.
Bernstein adds: ‘The atmosphere at United’s training ground in Mourinho’s first week has been described as business-like with less chit-chat off the training pitch with the Portuguese manager even compared to Van Gaal.’
Reports also include a claim as to who Mourinho’s ‘chosen 24’ will be:
Goalkeepers : De Gea, Romero, Johnstone.
Defenders : Jones, Valencia, Darmian, Shaw, Smalling, Fosu-Mensah, Borthwick-Jackson, Bailly.
Midfielders : Mkhitaryan, Pogba, Herrera, Depay, Carrick, Schneiderlin, Young, Lingard, Pereira.
Forwards : Ibrahimovic, Rooney, Rashford, Martial.
Of the 33 players used in the Premier League last season, and who remain at the club, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo, Juan Mata, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Donald Love, Adnan Januzaj, Paddy McNair, James Weir, Will Keane and Varela are absent from the above list.