• By bassey
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    May 12, 2017
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    Fellaini and Mourinho

    Jose Mourinho will unapologetically seek to preserve the freshness of his Manchester United players over their final three Premier League games, he said after they reached the Europa League final.

    United will play Ajax in Stockholm on May 24 after a nervy 1-1 draw at home to Celta Vigo on Thursday, in which centre-back Eric Bailly was sent off, gave them a 2-1 aggregate semifinal win.

    Whereas Ajax's season finishes on Sunday, United still have three league games to play and Mourinho said he would have no qualms about making sure his players are in top shape for the trip to Sweden.

    "Obviously now Ajax think about the final," the United manager told journalists at Old Trafford.

    "Their league finishes on Sunday and they will have 12 days to prepare for the final and we have three Premier League matches to play.

    "Hopefully Crystal Palace (United's final league opponents) don't need the last game, because in the last game I'm going to make a lot of changes and nobody can blame us because we have a final two days later."

    With United struggling to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League, having fallen four points behind fourth-place Manchester City, winning the Europa League is their last hope of reaching the Champions League.

    But Mourinho said it would be wrong purely to view the final as a means to an end, particularly as United have never previously won the competition.

    "It means an opportunity to win a trophy, the opportunity to be back in the Champions League," said the Portuguese, who won the Uefa Cup – the precursor to the Europa League – with Porto in 2003.

    "It means an opportunity to end the season in the perfect way because the final is the last match of the season."

    Leading 1-0 from last week's first leg in Vigo, United doubled their advantage in the 17th minute when first-leg match-winner Marcus Rashford crossed for Marouane Fellaini to head home.

    But Facundo Roncaglia reduced the arrears with five minutes remaining before being sent off following a shoving match with Bailly

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