Mourinho tips surprises for United
Photo Source: PAA
Jose Mourinho is expecting surprises as the Manchester United manager rotates his squad during a testing run of October fixtures.
Life since succeeding Louis van Gaal has already had its peaks and troughs, with Community Shield glory and three successive wins followed by a run of three straight losses in all competitions.
United have responded impressively to that dip and racked up a third consecutive win on Thursday against Zorya Luhansk in the Europa League.
Mourinho made fewer changes than previous midweek matches due to the importance of getting a victory ahead of Fenerbahce's arrival next month, with that match wedged in-between trips to Liverpool and Chelsea.
A clash against Manchester City in the EFL Cup and Burnley in the league end a month that starts with Stoke's visit on Sunday, with that frantic period set to teach Mourinho a lot about his players.
"Every game I know more about my players, especially the ones that are on the pitch," Mourinho said after his 10th match at the Old Trafford helm.
"Obviously I would like to have other players playing more so I can see more, I can learn more about them."
Depay has made just one start under Mourinho, as has Ashley Young, Matteo Darmian and - due to injury as much as anything - Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Michael Carrick, Fosu-Mensah and Morgan Schneiderlin are others to have seen playing time restricted, but Mourinho is fully expecting one or more of those on the periphery to become key figures.
"I need the players to play, I need to see them in different circumstances. I need to understand more about them.
"There's always a surprise behind the door when you work with a team for three or four or five months. There's always a surprise."
An opportunity for squad players to shine is unlikely to arrive when they face Stoke on Sunday lunchtime.
United enter the weekend six points off leaders Manchester City and looking to build on the 4-1 shellacking of Premier League champions Leicester.