Jose Mourinho has defended his decision to ditch veteran midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, insisting he only wants to work with 23 outfield players at Manchester United.

Mourinho has come under fire from Schweinsteiger’s old club Bayern Munich for making Germany’s World Cup winning captain train with United’s Under-23 squad.

The new Old Trafford boss took responsibility for the decision, claiming he had to whittle down his playing staff to make way for four new signings and create the size of squad he wants.

‘But we have so many competitions, and especially the Europa League which is a competition that changes a lot for the season because you can play 15 matches, you play on Thursdays and have a big risk of travelling a lot.

‘Normally you are going to play in the Premier League on Sunday.

‘So I made the decision to be with 23 players plus three goalkeepers which is still a lot. I have to make my decisions. It’s simple.’

Mourinho admits he is concerned about United’s lack of preparation following a difficult tour of China which included the cancellation of the Manchester derby in Beijing.

But he promised to change the club’s much-maligned style of play under his predecessor Louis van Gaal over the course of time.

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