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Mourinho gives England v Ukraine prediction, urges Southgate to rest three players

Coral Barry

Jose Mourinho is backing England to beat Ukraine, but urged Gareth Southgate to rest three key players in the Euro 2020 quarter-final on Saturday.

England are favourites to beat Ukraine in Rome in their first game away from Wembley at Euro 2020.

Ukraine knocked out Sweden in dramatic fashion in their last-16 while England beat Germany 2-0 at Wembley in a famous win for the Three Lions.

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Mourinho is convinced the quarter-final should be a breeze for Gareth Southgate’s side and thinks the England manager should take the opportunity to rest players.

“I think for Maguire it would be perfect to rest,” he told TalkSPORT. “It would mean the yellow card would not stop him playing in the semi-final but also not (cause an) accumulation in fatigue for someone who did not prepare well.

Maguire is an important player for the team (but) Mings is playing so, so well. Maguire didn’t have a good preparation for the competition.

He added: “I would say rest them both (Rice and Phillips). You don’t need both Rice and Phillips to beat Ukraine.

“I would say maximum one of them is needed but you have Jordan Henderson that I want to believe that is in condition to play.

“You have other, younger players who are fresh with conditions, desire and motivation to play and (there is) the way Philips and Rice they worked in the last match, the way Rice finished the game completely exhausted with cramps.

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“I would not change the spine of the team but I would for sure change three or four players. It’s no disrespect to Ukraine but to respect the ones who are not playing.

“I believe that the semi-final will be much more difficult than the quarter-final.”

With the other quarter-finals harder to call, Mourinho was asked which teams would make up the semi-finals.

“England for sure,” Mourinho replied. “Czech Republic v Denmark will be a difficult one but I will say Denmark.

Belgium v Italy, that’s a big one, a really big one. I will say Italy.

“Switzerland v Spain is also a big one but Granit Xhaka is not playing and they need him so Spain will go through.”

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