(Reuters) - Manchester United will field a weakened team for their last Premier League game of the season against Crystal Palace if they qualify for the Europa League final, manager Jose Mourinho has said.
Fifth-placed United are a point and a place behind Manchester City and their qualification for next season’s Champions League through a top-four finish depends on either City or third-placed Liverpool slipping up in their remaining games.
With four league matches left, United are yet to play second-placed Tottenham Hotspur and sixth-placed Arsenal but can also book a Champions League spot by winning the Europa League.
They face Spanish side Celta Vigo away in the semi-final first leg on Thursday.
“If we beat Celta, we have the final (on May 24) and, in this moment, it is obviously hypothetical,” Mourinho told the club’s website. (www.manutd.com)
“The Europa League final is on the Wednesday and we play against Crystal Palace on the Sunday... so we would be playing the final with disastrous consequences,” the Portuguese added.
“Maybe I can bring (youth team coach) Nicky Butt and his team to play against Crystal Palace and hopefully they (Palace) don’t need the game to stay in the division because it would be very, very bad if they needed the points and we played with the Under-23s.”
Midfielders Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini will return to action against Celta.
“Fellaini and Pogba will be back for that game so there are a little bit more in terms of options so we will give everything we have,” Mourinho said.
United travel to Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday.
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond