Tuesday, 7 March 2017
Mourinho needs to juggle Man United squad - Irwin
Eighteen years on from the team Sir Alex Ferguson led to Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup in 1999, Mourinho’s men are pursuing three competition victories.
They have already won the EFL Cup and now face a Europa League double header against Russian club FC Rostov either side of next Monday’s FA Cup clash at Chelsea.
With a minimum 15 fixtures remaining, Irwin said Mourinho — whose side are also striving for a top-four finish in the Premier League — will have to juggle his squad.
He recalled the FA Cup semifinal replay against Arsenal for which Ferguson left Dwight Yorke, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs on the bench before the latter came on to score a memorable extra-time winner.
“You’d love to play every game but I think that’s almost impossible, particularly for the front players who need to be at their sharpest,” Irwin said.
“That’s down to the manager, when he wants to freshen it up. Certainly in 1999, Sir Alex freshened it up quite a bit.
“You have to take a risk somewhere along the line, but that’s down to the manager.
“We’ve got a fine squad, and there is an international break in there as well. We’ll have to see what happens. Once you get on that [momentum], it’s a very strong leverage to have.”
Mourinho’s team have lost only once in their past 27 games, and Irwin said: “You feel in the last three or four months that momentum has been building and we’ve developed into a team that’s very hard to beat.
“It can happen like that — you take each game as it comes and see how it works out.”