Henrikh Mkhitaryan has insisted that Manchester United are taking all four competitions they are involved in seriously even as they struggle to cope with a demanding fixture schedule.
United are the only side in England still retaining an interest in a quartet of competitions — the Premier League, Europa League, FA Cup and the League Cup, in which they can look forward to a Wembley final against Southampton next month.
What that means is that United could play as many as 67 games, should they advance to the finals of the other two cup competitions. This has led Mourinho to criticise the English fixture schedule as “nonsense”.
But after a weekend in which a number of Premier League teams were eliminated from the FA Cup after choosing weakened line-ups, Mkhitaryan claimed United want to succeed in every tournament.
“We are taking all the competitions seriously,” he said. “For Manchester United, every cup is very important.
“A trophy is a trophy. It doesn’t matter if it is the League Cup, the FA Cup or the Europa League. We want to do our best to try to win them all.”
United face drop candidates Hull in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Wednesday, with Mourinho again likely to make sweeping changes to his team selection.
The weekend FA Cup win over Wigan saw Mourinho make nine changes from his previous game, a League Cup semi-final, also against Hull, and hand debuts to young substitutes Axel Tuanzebe and goalkeeper Joel Pereira.
Despite the Portuguese boss having expressed concerns about the lack of depth in his squad, Mkhitaryan claimed the competition for places, and the emergence of young players at Old Trafford, was healthy.
“It’s great for them to play their first game,” said the Armenian. “You know as a player that, when young players come into the squad, you have to help them and offer them some advice and I thought they both did well on what is a great experience for them.”