The Red Devils boss claims to have asked officials about the club’s congested fixture list but is still waiting on a response
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has launched a scathing attack on Premier League officials, claiming they “simply don’t care” about teams who are competing in Europe.
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United booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Europa League on Thursday with a 1-0 win over Rostov at Old Trafford – a result that secured a 2-1 aggregate victory.
The match took place just three days after a tough FA Cup defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, in which United played for nearly an hour with 10 men, while their preparations were further hindered when travel problems meant they did not return to their Carrington base until 0400 local time on Tuesday.
With his side having to play their next match – a league game against Middlesbrough away from home – at midday local time on Sunday, Mourinho has blasted organisers for failing to do more to accommodate England’s top-flight teams when they are competing in Europe.
“I think they don’t give an ‘s’ about English teams in Europe,” he said. “They simply don’t care.
“I can understand you don’t have any help in relation to the Premier League but I don’t understand that you don’t have any help in relation to European football. I’ve being saying this for many, many, many years, even from my first spell in England,” he said.
Zlatan on #MUTV: “It feels good. The important thing was to get through.” #MUFC pic.twitter.com/YVdUeTNX7u
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 16, 2017
“I don’t ask for me, I ask for everyone. There are other interests that are more important.
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“Every country, they try to give support to teams in European football, but here it’s difficult.
“We should be the last team to play at the weekend. It’s as simple as that. We should play Monday, or the last match on Sunday, not 12 o’clock. At least let us sleep a little bit on Sunday, right?
“It’s the simple criteria of ‘we give you so much money’, which is true, and we appreciate that. Without their money, the Premier League wouldn’t be the Premier League, the clubs wouldn’t be as rich as they are so yes, they are totally right and we have to tell them thank you for the Premier League they are building.
“But I think you can do that and just have a little finger, a little touch. Can you give me an explanation why we play Sunday at 12 o’clock? Nobody can give me the explanation.
“So I think it’s just a little bit of common sense, if they want. Or, if they’re happy that we have one English club in the Champions League and one in the Europa League… wow.”
United looked particularly jaded in the second half against Rostov, losing Paul Pogba and Daley Blind to injury, while Phil Jones was forced into a makeshift left wing-back role after the exhausted Marcos Rojo – who was seen eating a banana pitchside – became unable to sprint.
#ThatMomentWhen those potassium cravings kick in mid-match… #MUFC pic.twitter.com/MBdqeGkU84
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 16, 2017
Mourinho did not see anything amusing about the incident and said that his players, particularly Pogba, were paying the price for scheduling problems.
“For some, the banana story was a funny situation but I don’t think it was,” Mourinho said. “When I watch marathons, when I watch other sports where people go to the limit, I don’t think it’s funny.
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“I don’t think it’s funny that some of my players [played] six weeks, 11 matches, played last Monday with 10 men, enjoyed five hours on the M6 coming back to Manchester, and some of them, like Marcos, were at their limit.
“My team’s injury records are very, very good. It’s very difficult for my players to have injuries. [Pogba] was an accumulation of fatigue. He was feeling something in the first half and in the second half he immediately felt he couldn’t carry on. Even a physical monster like him felt it.
“But of course, he was one of the players who never had a rest because he’s played every game. Even against Blackburn [in the FA Cup], he was on the bench and he had to come on for the last half an hour, so he’s playing every game. So that’s normal. I think the Monday game, more than an hour of 11 against 10, also had a price. Paul is paying the price.
“But in Rostov, when I was speaking to the delegate about the condition [of the pitch] at the stadium, he was telling me that if the player gets injured, no problem, because they have insurance. I think, in England, it’s a little bit the same. ‘He gets millions; let him run. If he breaks, no problem’.”