Manchester United manager José Mourinho admitted that Antonio Valencia cannot play frequently for the rest of the season. The Ecuadorian international missed a couple of games in the last week before returning against Anderlecht in the UEFA Europa League quarter-final on Thursday.
Valencia provided the vital cross in the game against the Belgian side that allowed Manchester United to come back home with a crucial away goal. Mourinho has previously admitted that Valencia is very tired due to the accumulation of games in past few months.
Valencia cannot play every game
In his post-match press conference, Mourinho admitted that “Valencia has some problems and cannot play every game.” The Ecuadorian has been the most consistent performer for United this season and has been transformed into a brilliant right-back. He has been a force going forward while improving immensely with his defensive work.
Mourinho has admitted that Europa League has become a priority for the club with the top four fight in the Premier League growing tougher and toughet. It is likely that the Portuguese boss will play Valencia in the Europa League games and rest him in the Premier League.
Shaw will get more opportunities in absence of Valencia
The United boss has followed a particular trend while selecting his fullbacks for every game. He prefers to have an attacking fullback who will bomb forward relentlessly and the other fullback to be more defensive. This has lead to selection of Matteo Darmian or Daley Blind in left-back position when Valencia is playing right-back.
In the absence of Valencia, Luke Shaw can get more opportunities to impress Mourinho. The English left-back was under intense public criticism from his manager for not training well.
However, after the talks with Mourinho, Shaw played against Everton and Sunderland. Shaw has similar pace as Valencia and can contribute heavily in the final third. He can be the attacking full-back on the left side while Darmian can occupy rightback position in Premier League games.