Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Raw Talent of Youth May Give Reds Lost Spark

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Raw Talent of Youth May Give Reds Lost Spark

Article excerpt

OFF they went, one by one, in their mint green bibs. Juan Mata, Michael Carrick and Scott McTominay all crept out of the away dugout at St James' Park and trotted down the touchline, stretching their calves and running on the spot.

Jose Mourinho had set out his stall. For the second time in 11 days, he picked what he believed was his strongest starting line-up from the off but his side needed a spark - even before Matt Richie's shock opener after the hour mark.

With Marouane Fellaini, Marcus Rashford and Zlatan Ibrahimovic all injured, Mourinho was suddenly short of options against a side who spent more money on getting out of the Championship than they did trying to stay up in the Premier League.

It got to the desperate stage where the towering McTominay, a makeshift forward for the reserves last season, was thrown up front ahead of an aerial avalanche in the Newcastle box - if ever an image summed up an afternoon to forget.

Mourinho will have gone back to the drawing board in his office at Carrington this week and will have relished having a full week to prepare his side for the trip to Huddersfield in the FA Cup tomorrow. The John Smith's Stadium will still send shivers down the spine of every member of United's squad after that infamous, wet afternoon in West Yorkshire back in October.

Mourinho will not have to look too far to inject some X-factor into training in the run up to that short trip up the M62 as he looks to add some dynamism to his bench.

Indeed, he has already done the hard part after bringing Angel Gomes into the fold in the previous round against Yeovil.

Admittedly, there is a huge difference between playing a side slumped in mid-table in League Two and one who roughed up an academy product like McTominay only two weeks ago.

It was a surprise when the diminutive Gomes boarded that chartered flight to Somerset last month, but the 17-year-old really caught the eye with his 88thminute He is the already fans off Ciaran Tahith cameo - even coming close to scoring United's fifth goal after a brilliant solo run. …

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