Jose Mourinho said after the final Premier League game of the season that he knows which team he will pick for the Europa League final on Wednesday.
The Manchester United manager rested a number of key players against Crystal Palace on Sunday to provide one or two hints about his XI to face Ajax in Stockholm. Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian, Ander Herrera, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford were all left out of the squad at the weekend and should start in Sweden.
Mourinho has already confirmed Sergio Romero will start in goal ahead of usual No. 1 David De Gea, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw and Ashley Young all miss out through injury, and Eric Bailly is suspended after his red card against Celta Vigo.
Here’s a look at what the United team could look like against Ajax.
GK: Sergio Romero. Argentina’s No. 1 started both legs of the Europa League semifinal against Celta Vigo and Mourinho confirmed after the second game at Old Trafford, he will start against Ajax.
RB: Antonio Valencia. There have been concerns among United’s backroom staff that Valencia is one who is feeling the effects of a long season more than most. He has missed the last three games but trained as normal on Friday and should play.
CB: Daley Blind. The Dutchman has been the one to benefit from the injury to Rojo. Mourinho has already hinted he will start against his former club at centre-back. He hasn’t played since the defeat to Tottenham on May 17 to save him for the final.
CB: Phil Jones. One of Mourinho’s key decisions is whether to pick Phil Jones or Chris Smalling to partner Blind at the back. Jones has started the last three games and looked comfortable. Smalling, meanwhile, is recovering from a toe injury. On form alone, Jones would be unlucky to miss out.
LB: Matteo Darmian. The Italian isn’t a natural left-back but has made the role his by staying fit while Shaw, Rojo and Young have succumbed to injuries. He has been preferred by Mourinho in the big games, including both matches against Celta Vigo.
CM: Ander Herrera. Another who is certain to start against Ajax. Herrera has become a key man for Mourinho and missed the win over Palace to save him for the final.
CM: Marouane Fellaini. Another decision for Mourinho to make. Fellaini missed the win over Palace through injury, though the Belgian midfielder says he should be fit. The other option is Michael Carrick but Mourinho has preferred Fellaini in recent matches.
CM: Paul Pogba. The Frenchman missed the games against Tottenham and Southampton following the death of his father. He started against Palace, but only to give him some minutes before Stockholm. After scoring the second goal, he came off before half-time as Mourinho looked to protect him.
RW: Jesse Lingard. Like Pogba, Lingard started against Palace. But, like Pogba, he was taken off before half-time. Lingard would be the one to miss out against Ajax if Mourinho opts to go with Anthony Martial but his early substitution against Palace suggests he’s in the team.
LW: Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Mkhitaryan wasn’t in the squad against Palace, although he did train on the pitch after the game. He has been a regular in the second half of the season and has had a good record in the Europa League this season, scoring five goals in 10 appearances.
CF: Marcus Rashford. Rashford has been Mourinho’s striker since Ibrahimovic was sidelined with a knee injury in April. Wrapped in cotton wool against Palace, he is sure to start against Ajax with Wayne Rooney on the bench.
Substitutes: David De Gea, Chris Smalling, Michael Carrick, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Juan Mata, Anthony Martial, Wayne Rooney.