Man United to play full strength team vs. Hull in EFL Cup - Jose Mourinho
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has said that he will use "all the power we have" against Hull City -- which includes picking Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia.
United face Hull in the first leg of their EFL Cup semifinal at Old Trafford on Tuesday and Mourinho is set to unleash the big guns, despite facing Liverpool at home in the Premier League on the Sunday afterwards.
Ibrahimovic, Pogba, Herrera and Valencia were all left out of United's 4-0 home win in the FA Cup third round against Championship club Reading on Saturday, but Mourinho told reporters: "Hull face a semifinal. It's a big occasion for them. I don't know, maybe for them -- three or four days later -- the Premier League match [against Bournemouth] is more important.
"We play against Liverpool, a big match for us, but we want to be in the final. We are going to face this difficult match with everything we have, all the power we have. We know it's two legs but the second leg is away. If we can do something in the first leg, that gives us the advantage, so we will try to do that.
"I play with players who didn't play today [against Reading]. Against Hull, I am going to play fresh players -- Zlatan, Pogba, Herrera, Valencia."
Mourinho will be facing Hull manager Marco Silva, a fellow Portuguese, who the United manager described as a friend last season.
Speaking in November 2015, Mourinho had said he wanted his "kid friend" Silva -- who was in charge of Olympiakos at the time -- to knock out Arsene Wenger's Arsenal out of the Champions League.
Looking ahead to their reunion on Tuesday, Mourinho said: "Hull City's new manager, he is an intelligent guy, he will organise his team well for sure. It is not easy to come to the Premier League when you are a foreign coach.
"I spoke with him yesterday [Friday]. He said it was an opportunity to come to the Premier League. He knows he is going to face a difficult challenge -- they are bottom of the league -- but it's a big opportunity for him. I hope he loses three matches [against United] and wins the other ones."
The United manager also believes it is a chance for Silva to raise his profile. The Hull manager was greeted by a tabloid headline of "Marco Who?" when he was appointed -- even though he won the Greek title with Olympiakos last season and masterminded a 3-2 win over Arsenal in the Champions League at the Emirates Stadium in September 2015.
"He is known in Portugal as one of the good, young coaches," Mourinho said. "In Greece, nobody knew he was champion -- now he comes to the big one [the Premier League].
"He started from below. He was not given a top job immediately. He did well in a small club in Portugal then went to Sporting, one of the top three, and won the Cup.
"For me, he is very stable, mature. In spite of being a young guy, he is experienced. I look forward to another Portuguese -- one from a younger generation than myself. I would love him to do well but we all know in the Premier League that, when you are bottom of the league, it is hard to jump, but he is going to try to do it."
Discussing how seriously he himself takes the League Cup, Mourinho said: "For a big club, a competition is a competition. I was never good at choosing competitions. I was never good at choosing competitions. You are in competitions to try to win. The League Cup is not the FA Cup, but it's a Cup.
"I won it twice at Cardiff but, at Wembley, the meaning is even better. So why not try?"
Arindam is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @ARejSport.