Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Herrera omission for Champions League tie underlines Manchester United's strength in depth

Herrera omission for Champions League tie underlines Manchester United's strength in depth

Goals from substitutes Marouane Fellaini and Marcus Rashford sandwiched Romelu Lukaku's first goal in the competition proper as United opened their Group A campaign in straightforward fashion on Tuesday.

United acted quickly to make the long-standing defensive target Jose Mourinho's first summer signing, paying Benfica an initial 35million euros (£30.75million) for the Sweden international's services.

Jose Mourinho accused his Manchester United side of disrespecting Basel in their Champions League opener, saying they were more interested in "PlayStation football" than being professional.

The triumph came at a price for the Reds Devils though, with Mourinho suspecting that Paul Pogba was forced off the pitch in just the 19th minute due to a hamstring injury.

But Mourinho criticised his players for easing off after Lukaku's 53rd-minute header put them 2-0 up, accusing them of playing "PlayStation football" decorated by unnecessary "flicks and tricks". When we stop playing seriously, stop playing as a team, I don't like it. "He's a very important player for me".

With both Bailly and Jones available again, Lindelof is set to drop out of the team when Everton visit Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday.

The Manchester United manager was correct in his assessment and was sending a warning shot to his team to respect future opponents because top sides will hurt them for complacency or silly mistakes.

"The only match we made a decision to play with three [Herrera] played, today we went back to two again".

The 24-year-old Frenchman, who was wearing the captain's armband for the night, had to limp out of the UEFA Champions League action after just 18 minutes and he was replaced by Fellaini, who went on to score the opening goal. "I didn't like it, the players relaxed too much", he added.

Asked if Fellaini had the problem before the Greece game, Mourinho said: "Yes".

Mourinho also spoke of his squad depth in regard to Pogba's injury, he said: "Squads are for this, squads are for injuries, squads are for suspensions".

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