Wayne Rooney explains why Man Utd should play Jose Mourinho-inspired 4-4-2 in FA Cup final against Man City

Rooney - Pep Guardiola - Jose MourinhoGetty
  • Rooney says formation tweak is needed for final
  • Thinks Ten Hag should employ Mourinho tactics
  • United likely to rotate against Fulham

WHAT HAPPENED? Manchester United are all that is standing in the way of Manchester City and a domestic double as the two face off in the FA Cup final on June 3. Many are expecting City to win the game, however United legend Rooney, who is currently manager of D.C. United, believes a slight formation change may put the Red Devils in with a fighting chance at Wembley.

WHAT HE SAID: In his column for The Times, Rooney wrote: "I would set United up 4-4-2, with Martial and Rashford up top and a very solid midfield behind them: Casemiro in the middle with Christian Eriksen, or even Scott McTominay, and Bruno Fernandes and Fred either side. I’d want to keep the distances between my eight defending players small.

"Everyone in football knows that if you get a good block of eight players, do it well and keep your discipline, it’s very difficult to break you down. United have had a few successes against City in recent years playing on the counterattack — often with Rashford and Martial to the fore."

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Alongside the formation change, Rooney suggested implementing tactics similar to those of Mourinho when at Chelsea. He said: "He [Mourinho] would get the likes of Joe Cole, Arjen Robben and Damien Duff to take up ‘half’ positions where they didn’t come all the way back and defend when Chelsea were out of possession but instead cheat a bit and wait higher up the pitch in areas from which they could counterattack as soon as Chelsea won the ball back."

It wouldn't be drastically different to what United have done against the top teams this season, with notable victories against Liverpool, Arsenal and even Manchester City all including quick counter-attacking moves that helped win them the game.


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WHAT NEXT FOR MAN UNITED? Ten Hag's men secured their spot in next season's Champions League with a 4-1 battering of Chelsea on Thursday night, making Sunday's visit from Fulham a dead-rubber. It may give the Dutch manager the chance to rest some key players ahead of the cup final next Saturday as United look to disrupt City's attempt to repeat their iconic treble.

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