Jose Mourinho has admitted that he regrets selling Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Both players were allowed to leave the club due to a lack of regular first-team football. Mourinho was so adamant that Schweinsteiger did not feature in the team and was made to train on his own in the first half of the season.
He was brought back into the team due to mounting injuries, but even that did not see him get first-team opportunities. As a result, Schweinsteiger made the switch to Chicago Fire in March after deciding to end his contract with United by mutual consent.
Morgan Schneiderlin also faced a similar story, although he was able to feature sparingly in the first team. After spending much of the campaign on the sidelines, the French midfielder was eventually sold to Everton. Manchester United seemed to have more than enough numbers in the midfield that they allowed these two players to leave. Yet, Jose Mourinho was always cautious about the club’s fight on four fronts back then. Now, his fears have certainly been proven right as United are facing a crisis in the midfield.
Paul Pogba is unlikely to play in the next few matches after suffering an injury in the 2-0 win over Burnley. Marouane Fellaini received a red card in the goalless draw with Manchester City. Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick are the recognised midfielders left for the club. This has led to Mourinho admitting that the decision to let Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger leave was not ideal. He said:
“Our decision, our decision. To have lots of players without playing is something that the players don’t want. We didn’t tell Morgan, ‘We want to sell you’, Morgan asked and said, ‘Please sell me, I want to go and play every game.’ So sometimes there is always this dilemma of keep a bigger squad, but then the players don’t want to stay.”
The injury crisis could not have come at a much worse time for Manchester United considering that their Champions League qualification is at stake. The goalless draw with City raises a lot of pressure on Jose Mourinho, as the club remain outside the top four, despite closing the gap on Liverpool.
With five matches left in the season, United know that they must realistically win all the games in order to have any chance of qualification. They have a game in hand over Liverpool and victory in that match would be decisive. However, the lack of numbers in the midfield could prove to be a problem for the manager.
United also have the small matter of a Europa League semi-final with Celta de Vigo. The club are up against tough opponents like Swansea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Southampton, and Crystal Palace in the remaining 5 league matches. It is essential that United come out on top after the end of these games. Only time will tell Manchester United’s fate at the end of the season.