Jose Mourinho has informed his Manchester United players he plans to work with a first-team squad of 24 – fuelling reports that a number of high-profile departures are imminent.
According to the Daily Mail, 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.
Reports on Tuesday suggested Mourinho had already told four big-name stars they would be sold this summer.
Mail reporter 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.
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.’
The Mail 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.