Jose Mourinho has suggested Manchester United could field an under-23 side against Crystal Palace in their last Premier League game of the season.
Mourinho has become increasingly exasperated by the fixture demands on his side, a situation caused by their extended participation in three cup competitions, and is currently juggling a long injury list.
Defenders Eric Bailly and Luke Shaw joined the inactive list during Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Swansea and left Mourinho pondering his options should the Red Devils beat Celta Vigo in a two-legged Europa League semi-final.
Having last week floated the idea of fielding himself in defence, he has alighted on a more youthful idea.
‘You are punished for doing well and if we beat Celta we have the final on the Wednesday (May 24) and we play against Crystal Palace on the Sunday (May 21),’ he said. ‘Before that we play Southampton two days before and, with all respect, we would be playing in disaster consequences.
‘Maybe I can bring (academy coach) Nicky Butt and his team to play against Crystal Palace and hopefully Palace doesn’t need a game to stay in the division because it would be very, very bad if they needed the points for us to play with the under-23s. It’s difficult.’
Events at the bottom of the table suggest Palace are unlikely to be chasing points for survival in the final round of fixtures, with Sunderland down, Middlesbrough close behind and Hull battling with the Swans for survival.