The thumping victory over Burton Albion showed how much the Red Devils squad has been strengthened since the MK Dons humiliation
IT IS TESTAMENT to the strength of Jose Mourinho’s squad that he could make nine changes on Wednesday and still field a team that would do damage in the Premier League.
Yes their 4-1 win may have only been against 19th placed Championship side Burton Albion.
But let us not forget it was only four years ago Manchester United rung the changes for a League Cup tie only to suffer one of the biggest humiliations in their history.
The 4-0 drubbing away to League One side MK Dons finished the United careers of some youngsters not least Michael Keane who has gone on to establish himself as one of the Premier League’s best centre backs.
That side fielded on the 26th August 2014 showed ten changes from the previous league game, a 1-1 draw at Sunderland.
While some names had fans diving for Google as Louis van Gaal there was also David de Gea, Jonny Evans, Shinji Kagawa, Anderson, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck in the line-up.
Yet how many of them would have got into United’s second team on Wednesday.
De Gea, of course, Evans possibly, none of the others.
If Mourinho makes sweeping changes now you won’t even notice the difference in performance.
Every outfield player called upon on Wednesday was an established name with a justified case to be in the line-up for tomorrow’s away trip to Southampton.
Even if Mourinho were to choose Sergio Romero instead of David de Gea he would not worry.
Let’s not forget that was the man he trusted to help United into the Champions League via the Europa League last season.
Ahead of Wednesday’s game Mourinho said this about his squad: “We have some fantastic players who haven’t played at all so far this season and others who haven’t yet been selected to start a game because the team is playing so well.
“That’s life in big clubs, where the squad is always high quality, but they will all be given their chance to show what they can do.”
It was Michael Carrick and Luke Shaw’s first football of the season and first starts for Ander Herrera, Jesse Lingard and Chris Smalling since the European Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid.
Mourinho said: “They are going to be important players for us, for sure.”
The versatility of his attacking options was on show as he left Romelu Lukaku out and moved Marcus Rashford up front.
Rashford scored twice inside the first 17 minutes and some of his interplay with Anthony Martial, who scored the fourth, was superb.
It was the fourth time in seven games that United have scored four goals this season.
In those seven games since the Super Cup they have hit 23 in all and conceded just three.
The only problem Mourinho is having is who to pick, and that is a problem he is very happy to have.
Four years on from that miserable night in Milton Keynes this is a very, very different Manchester United.
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