Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is not known to hide his disappointment. As his team prepares for Wednesday night’s International Champions Cup exhibition meeting with A.C. Milan at Stubhub Center, Mourinho made it clear he was not fully satisfied with the number of key players that will not be available.
When asked if he’d got everything he wanted from the trip, Mourinho did not mince his words.
“No,” Mourinho said. “I got the facilities as always. I got the incredible commitment of the people involved in the process of preparing a good preseason, I’m happy with the matches and the evolution of the matches but I don’t have the players to work. But I don’t have the majority of the players that are going to be in the squad on the 9th of August when we register our squad, so of course I’m not happy.”
Deep runs at the World Cup for France, Belgium and England — who included a combined seven of Mourinho’s players in their squads — have left United depleted of star power for the tour, as players such as Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku take extended post-World Cup breaks. Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea and new Brazilian signing Fred, eliminated in the round of 16 and the quarterfinals of the World Cup respectively, will return to the squad too late to feature against Milan. However, Alexis Sanchez, who was originally held up by visa issues, and Serbia midfielder Nemanja Matic are both with the squad.
The depleted squad may be one reason why United have not been able to fill stadiums so far on their tour. Attendance at University of Phoenix Stadium to watch Mourinho’s team draw with Club America was 37,776, while attendance for United’s 0-0 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes at Levi’s Stadium was 32,549. Both stadiums have a capacity of more than 60,000. After Wednesday’s meeting between United and A.C. Milan was relocated from the Rose Bowl, a sellout appears more likely at the 29,000-seater Stubhub Center.
Milan enters the game in the midst of rumors of a coaching shakeup. Former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, who won the Premier League in 2017, has been linked to the job at Milan, which is currently held by Gennaro Gattuso. Gattuso was hired in November 2017 and signed a three-year contract in April.
Manchester United and A.C. Milan will kick off at 8 p.m. at Stubhub Center.