Jose Mourinho has confirmed no more players will be coming or going on transfer deadline day
After selling Memphis Depay and Morgan Scheniderlin earlier in the January window, the Manchester United manager does not want to reduce his squad numbers any further with the club still in four competitions and facing a 66-game season.
And he has been boosted by Ashley Young’s decision to stay while again dismissing the suggestion that skipper Wayne Rooney could be tempted by the riches on offer in the Chinese Super League.
With United facing a marathon season possible fixture congestion Jose Mourinho says he simply couldn’t afford to let any more players go, even though in Young’s case he has made only nine appearances this season.
Young was wanted by West Brom, West Ham, Swansea and former club Watford but Mourinho was keen to keep him because he is an experienced and versatile operator who can play as a winger or wing back.
He will be in the squad for the visit of Hull to Old Trafford tomorrow with Mourinho saying: “He's staying, he's selected for tomorrow. He stays with me until the end of the season. It's finished.”
Mourinho says Ashley Young will stay at United until the end of the season
Mourinho confirmed again that despite all the speculation Rooney will not be leaving, at least not until the summer at the earliest when the United manager will enter the market to continue the re-building of his squad.
“Yeah [Rooney stays], “ he added. “We don't have players in, we don't have players out because we have already lost two players from the squad.
“You can say Memphis and Schneiderlin did not play a lot, but the reality is they played some matches, and when they did, others didn't, and when they played, others were rested. When Schneiderlin played, it meant Pogba, Carrick or Herrera didn't.
“You lose players sometimes it does not look important because they were not first-choice players, but in the end they're important if someone is going to have a difficult season. I hope that's us and we're in the cup comps.
“We have the Manchester City match postponed and if we beat Blackburn in the FA Cup we will have another Premier League postponed. We are in the Europa League competition with more matches, so our situation is really difficult. We lost two players and we can't lose any more.”
Wayne Rooney will also be staying put despite interest from China
Mourinho is already planning for the summer and says he knows who he wants.
Atletico Madrid’s Antoione Griezmann is expected to be top of his list but Mourinho admits he cannot be certain of landing the players he will target.
“In our case, we are more focused on the summer period. I like my players, so nothing for me.
“I know what I want. I always think every week the more I know my players, the more I know my team, the more I know the competition, because it's a competition I know really well, but it's a competition in permanent evolution.
“I know what I want, the market closes today, so there is no point in me speaking about the next transfer window when we have so many matches to play, so much to fight for, so many good players to work with.
“If you ask me 'do I know what I want for the next transfer window?' yes I know. Is it possible to get? I'll try, always, to be realistic.
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Football Whispers have rated Manchester United's chances in the transfer market
“I remember years ago when I was asking for a second goalkeeper [at Chelsea] my technical director gave me a list of possible second goalkeepers and the first name was Gianluigi Buffon [Italy’s No 1]! I'm always realistic, always try to give options that are gettable, but we'll have time to speak about that in the summer."
Summer targets are on the back burner now with Mourinho just keen to concentrate on what could still turn out to be a memorable first season at Old Trafford.
“For now, it is Hull, Leicester, St Etienne, Watford, St Etienne again, Blackburn and finally, at the end of the month, Southampton in the Leeague Cup final. After seven matches for us, Southampton will have 15 days' holidays to prepare for the final.”
Mourinho will bring back four of his regulars tomorrow – Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, David De Gea and Antonio Valencia – who were all rested for the weekend’s Cup victory over Wigan.
Despite their improved results, United have remained rooted in sixth place and Mourinho knows while the title is probably out of sight now, a top four place is an absolute must.
They have drawn far too many games – eight – for his liking and he says only wins will do now, starting against a Hull team who surprisingly beat them in the League Cup semi-final second leg last Thursday, although it didn’t stop United reaching Wembley.
He said: “Only three points is a good result so for us if we don't win it's really bad, because we need to win matches, that's the big difference.