Manchester United will hand debuts to Matthew Willock, Demetri Mitchell Josh Harrop and Zachery Dearnley against Crystal Palace after manager Jose Mourinho confirmed a swathe of youngsters will feature in their final Premier League game. With the fixture coming 72 hours before the Europa League final against Ajax in Stockholm, Mourinho is unwilling to risk the fitness of any of his first team players and will instead field an inexperienced side this weekend.
Midfielders Willock and Mitchell have been unused substitutes in recent weeks and will be joined in the team by Scott McTominay, who made his maiden senior appearance against Arsenal, Harrop and teenager Dearnley. Axel Tuanzebe is in line to start for a fourth league game in a row while Paul Pogba will return having missed the draw at Southampton following the death of his father.
Defender Eric Bailly is suspended for the final on Wednesday [24 May] and will therefore start despite suffering an injury at St Mary's. Portuguese goalkeeper Joel Pereira will stand in for David de Gea and make his top flight debut, with Sergio Romero having been assured a place from the start against Ajax – a game which could provide the club with a route into next season's Champions League.
Neither United nor Palace have anything tangible to play for on the final day of the season. While the Old Trafford club are guaranteed to finish sixth regardless of the result, Sam Allardyce's team are assured of survival after thrashing Hull City last weekend. Mourinho says with the game having no bearing on the top or bottom of the table, the fixture should have moved forward to allow United extra time to prepare for their European final.
"I don't lose [waste] time," said the United boss when asked if he asked for the game to be moved. "I know the battle is lost. I don't fight about it. I am here seven years. I never saw any detail trying to care about the English teams involved in European competitions. I never saw Chelsea, United, City last year. I never saw. I think it is just a lost battle – we have to accept the way it is.
"I will bring in Mitchell and McTominay, who were on the bench tonight. Axel (Tuanzebe) of course. (Eric) Bailly and Willock will come too. Josh Harrop and Zachary will come. Pogba will come because he's not training or playing since his dad passed away and I will put two or three of my boys in, rotating during the game and making changes. I need to give structure of four or five of my boys to give stability to the kids. I don't think they will be in position to play the game."