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Man United's Sergio Romero will start Europa League final

May 12, 2017 1:00 PM
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Man United's Sergio Romero will start Europa League final

Jose Mourinho says first-choice goalkeeper David De Gea accepts that goalkeeper Sergio Romero will start the Europa League final but the Manchester United manager does not plan to make major changes to his starting line-ups for the club's remaining Premier League fixtures.

Romero, 30, has started United's last 10 European games, including both legs of the semifinal against Celta Vigo.

And after booking their place in the final against Ajax on May 24, Mourinho confirmed the Argentina international -- usually understudy to De Gea -- will be in goal for the showpiece in Stockholm.

"They are two fantastic goalkeepers. You are speaking about Argentina national goalkeeper and Spain national goalkeeper. But if everything goes normal and we have no problems, Sergio plays the final."

With United's participation in next season's Champions League dependent on the outcome in Sweden, Mourinho's decision will raise questions about De Gea's long-term future at Old Trafford.

Spain's No.1 has been linked with a transfer to Real Madrid and a return to the city where he grew up. Sources have told ESPN FC that De Gea is not agitating for a move away.

And Mourinho insists his choice for the final will have no bearing on where De Gea plays his football next season.

The United manager is adamant his decision to go with Romero -- who has started 16 games this season but only one in the Premier League -- is one De Gea accepts.

Mourinho added: "I never saw in all my career two goalkeepers to be so friendly because it is a position when you always have a little bit of rivalry, especially if you are both the same kind of level.

"They are so friends and they support each other all the time. I never saw a bad face. I also saw them supporting each other.

"I think it is fair Sergio is going to play the final and David accepts. He accepts that because, especially, he has already played Europa League matches.

"And if we win the trophy, David wins the trophy because he played two matches against Feyenoord and against Fenerbahce."

Romero, who has conceded just six goals this season, joined United on a free transfer in 2015 after spells at Racing Club, AZ Alkmaar, Sampdoria and Monaco.

He was linked with a move back to Argentina with Boca Juniors in January.

But following the second leg against Celta, he dismissed suggestions he could leave United in the summer.

"I'm very happy in Manchester," Romero told Sky Italia. "They make me feel important, the whole team make me feel important and I hope to stay here for a long time."

Meanwhile, Mourinho says he cannot make wholesale changes for United's final three Premier League games to save his players for the final.

Ajax will have 10 days to prepare for the game with the Eredivisie season set to end on Sunday. Mourinho's team, meanwhile, still have domestic matches against Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton and Crystal Palace.

They meet Palace at Old Trafford three days before the Europa League final. Mourinho is set to rotate his squad, starting with the trip to White Hart Lane on Sunday.

But he insists players earmarked to face Ajax will still have to play some part.

"I have to give some minutes to everyone because we have only have 15 players," he said. "So I have to play them. But I have to play them mixed. I have to play them by periods. And I don't have another solution.

"In the Premier League we can only finish fifth or sixth, I think. I don't think we can finish seventh and I don't think we can finish fourth. So fifth or sixth.

"We can win a trophy and by winning that trophy we can play Champions League next season. So that's the game. But obviously, like we did against Arsenal, we didn't throw the match away. We played, we tried to win.

"We gave a difficult match to our opponent. We had our chances to get a different result. And that's what we are going to do. We are not going to say that matches are not important matches.

"They are important. But we have one that is more important than others. But the match on Sunday is important for us, too."

Mourinho rested regulars Eric Bailly, Antonio Valencia, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford for the defeat to Arsenal last weekend. But after Bailly was sent off against Celta Vigo on Thursday he is set to be suspended for the final against Ajax. And it means the Ivory Coast defender will bear the brunt of the workload in United's remaining league games.

Mourinho added: "Even if it was unfair, I don't know, but even if it was unfair I don't think UEFA rules will allow any chance of an appeal.

"So I don't think he plays the final. And if he doesn't play the final, he has to play the remaining matches in the Premier League and give rest to some of the others."

Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.


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