Mourinho backs Pogba to cope with father's death

The Red Devils play Ajax in the Stockholm showpiece just three days after their final day clash against Crystal Palace - and Mourinho is expected to name a line-up against the Eagles which is a youth team in all-but name.

"We've got Axel Tuanzebe and Fellaini as the maestros in midfield", he continued. Fantastic group of players, fantastic spirit since the beginning of the season, hard run, lots of matches.

The Frenchman has sat out United's last two games after his father Fassou Antoine Pogba passed away aged 79 last Friday.

United must beat Ajax to qualify for next season's Champions League and with nothing to play for in the Premier League, Mourinho was relieved to leave the south-coast without any major casualties.

Souness is aware that United are forced to pay a premium for any player such is their stature as a club, but feels Pogba still has work to do to justify such a large outlay. "Strong guy, strong mentality".

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"I think one young player can play in the middle of a good structure, a dynamic structure, an experienced structure, yes". I think they are paid not to lie they are paid to be honest and speak from their knowledge to the people that watch TV and read papers.

"He knows that he needs to play on Sunday because he hasn't played or trained for a long time and he needs these minutes on the pitch, so he plays against Palace". He plays against Palace.

"Chris Smalling has a small problem for Sunday, he will be fine for Wednesday".

The frantic schedule and injuries have seen Mourinho rotate in recent league games, with captain Wayne Rooney, strongly linked with a summer Old Trafford exit, likely to be among those rested on Sunday. "He may be a player one day but right now as we sit here after one year in our football, I'm still waiting to be convinced". When I know the battle is lost I don't fight.

Mourinho has also called up promising young defender Tim Fosu-Mensah, who has not played since injuring his shoulder in the Manchester derby at the end of last month.

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