The Red Devils manager hinted he would not be putting out his strongest XI on Sunday ahead of Wednesday's UEFA Europa League final, per the Guardian's David Hytner:
"I hope you don't kill me when you see my team [against Palace]. I hope the fans at Old Trafford support the team, they forgive some naivety, they forgive some lack of confidence. And I hope that Big Sam [Allardyce] shows he's a good friend and he goes slow. He tells [Wilfried] Zaha to go slow, he leaves [Christian] Benteke at home. I hope he goes soft on us."
Mourinho confirmed some of his senior players would be involved to "bring stability," while Paul Pogba will return following the death of his father.
The Special One believes the match should be brought forward a day to help United's preparations for the Europa League final, with the Red Devils already confirmed to finish sixth whatever happens and the fight for survival already resolved, with the Eagles safe after beating Hull City last Sunday.
BT Sport commentator Ian Darke agreed with him:
Ian Darke @IanDarke
Mourinho is right. If moving a fixture helps an English team prep for a final , that should happen if game has nothing on it and clubs agree2017-5-18 08:06:36
However, Mourinho did not appeal to the Football Association because he believes it would have fallen on deaf ears.
United's first Premier League campaign under Mourinho has been one to forget.
B/R Football @brfootball
Regardless of Sunday's result, Manchester United will finish the season with fewer wins (17 or 18) than ever before in the Premier League https://t.co/SKV1qS3nr12017-5-18 08:03:41
ESPN's Alex Shaw hasn't been impressed:
Alex Shaw @AlexShawESPN
Let's not muck about here: All things considered, purely in terms of the Premier League campaign, Mourinho has been awful.2017-5-17 20:31:15
The Red Devils have lost just five times—the same as champions Chelsea—but 15 draws have proved costly.
How successful Mourinho's first season at Old Trafford will be viewed largely hinges on whether they beat Ajax in Stockholm on Wednesday.
A victory means he will have won two major trophies and qualified for the UEFA Champions League, making the team's sixth-placed finish much less of a problem. Losing would mean another campaign in the Europa League and only the EFL Cup in terms of silverware.
As such, it would be understandable if Mourinho fields a weakened team on Sunday, particularly given the injuries United have had to deal with in recent weeks.
For those who do play against Palace, a good performance could put them in contention for a place in the squad for the game against Ajax.