Football

Mourinho to unleash big guns to tame Tigers

Ibrahimovic and Pogba set to play against Hull despite Liverpool clash this Sunday

SEMI-FINAL, 1ST LEG
MANCHESTER  UNITED HULL CITY

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has pledged to bring out the heavy artillery for the League Cup semi-final, first-leg match at home to Premier League basement club Hull City tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

United cruised into the FA Cup fourth round last Saturday after registering an eighth consecutive win by crushing second-tier Reading 4-0 at Old Trafford.

They face a showdown with fellow League Cup semi-finalists Liverpool in the league on Sunday but, with a day out at Wembley only 180 minutes away, Mourinho does not want to take any chances.

"We play against Liverpool, a big match for us, but we want to be in the final," he said.

SEEKING ADVANTAGE

"So we are going to face this Hull match with everything we have, all the power we have, as we know it's two legs, but the second leg is away.

"If we can do something in the first leg that gives us the advantage, we will try to do that."

Mourinho made a number of changes for the visit of former United defender Jaap Stam's Reading and has revealed he will restore several first-team regulars for the visit of Hull.

We play against Liverpool, a big match for us, but we want to be in the final.  Man United manager Jose Mourinho

"I play with the players that didn't play (against Reading)," said Mourinho, who won three League Cups over his two spells as Chelsea manager.

"I played with fresh players and I don't want to say anything about first-choice or second-choice, but we played with fresh players, the players who didn't play against West Ham.

"In the next match against Hull City, we are going to play again with fresh players.

"So it's easy to know our team - Zlatan (Ibrahimovic), (Paul) Pogba, (Ander) Herrera, (Antonio) Valencia."

Wayne Rooney equalled Bobby Charlton's United scoring record by netting his 249th goal for the club against Reading, but he is likely to drop to the bench against Hull.

Centre back Marcos Rojo is a doubt after being withdrawn against Reading with a muscular problem.

With Eric Bailly having departed for the African Nations Cup with Ivory Coast, it could leave Phil Jones and Chris Smalling as United's only fit senior centre backs.

Marco Silva made a winning start to life as Hull head coach with a 2-0 win over Swansea City in the FA Cup last Saturday and he will relish the clash with fellow Portuguese Mourinho.

"It is a fantastic moment for the club that we play Manchester United in a semi-final," Silva said.

However, Hull are facing a defensive crisis.

Michael Dawson was forced off with a shoulder injury against Swansea, making him a doubt for a match that fellow centre backs Harry Maguire (hip) and Curtis Davies (hamstring) are also struggling for.

HULL ABSENTEES

Another centre back Alex Bruce (Achilles) has yet to feature this season, while fullbacks Moses Odubajo (knee) and Ahmed Elmohamady (African Nations Cup) are absent.

Hull are also without strikers Will Keane (knee) and Dieumerci Mbokani (African Nations Cup).

Silva said that new signings are needed quickly amid talk of Everton outcast Oumar Niasse arriving.

Niasse, a £13.5-million (S$23.8m) signing last January that has been frozen out by Ronald Koeman, is reportedly close to moving to the KCOM Stadium on loan, but Silva would not be drawn on reports.

- WIRE SERVICES

LEAGUE CUPManchester UnitedJose Mourinho