Man Utd stars set for axe with Jose Mourinho ready to ring the changes against Tottenham

Mourinho has been lifted by the return to fitness of a number of his regulars, including Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera, Antonio Valencia and Alexis Sanchez, who all are set to face Tottenham on Monday.

Jesse Lingard, who came on at half-time in the defeat by Brighton that set the alarm bells ringing at Old Trafford, Chris Smalling, an unused substitute in the first two games, and Phil Jones are also in Mourinho’s thoughts.

Among the players in danger of being dropped are Antony Martial, Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Ashley Young and summer signing Fred, who needs more time to adjust to the English game.

Mourinho and under-fire skipper Paul Pogba, meanwhile, have been backed by former United and Spurs striker Dimitar Berbatov, who believes it is far too early in the season to make sweeping judgments on the manager or his players.

“I didn’t expect the defeat at Brighton – no one did,” said the Bulgarian, who is an ambassador for Betfair. “United didn’t play well and they lost because Brighton wanted it more than them, simple as that.

“That’s not a good thing but please don’t overreact to one defeat so early in the season.

“Even if United lose I still think it would be too early to judge after just three games. Sometimes a team can surprise you. Any team can start a season fast or slow and turn it around.”

And he added: “I don’t understand all this criticism towards Paul Pogba. Anyone can have a bad game. Nobody wants to play bad football in a game, everybody wants to win and every player wants to show how good he is. But, you know, sometimes you simply have a game where nothing is happening.

“Blame is a strong word, I don’t like to use it. I think everybody – Jose, the players, Edward Woodward [the club’s executive vice chairman] – are working for the good of United.

“I do wonder if all this negativity is necessary but obviously football is a business, and a little bit of politics. You have people causing trouble, spreading ‘fake news’, rumours and it all gets repeated and becomes truth. But this is kids’ stuff and it doesn’t help anyone.”