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English Premier League

Manchester United draw Anderlecht as Jose Mourinho says Premier League ‘don’t give an “S”’

Manager hits out over fixture scheduling again with his side set to face Belgian club in the Europa League quarter-finals

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 March, 2017, 8:42pm
UPDATED : Friday, 17 March, 2017, 8:42pm

Jose Mourinho says the Premier League and Football Association must shoulder some of the blame for English clubs’ underachievements in European competitions this season.

Manchester United were drawn on Friday to face Anderlecht in the quarter-finals of the Europa League, and manager Mourinho claimed the domestic fixture schedule is harming his side’s chances.

“I think they don’t give an ‘s’ about the English teams in Europe,” he said. “They simply don’t care. There are other interests that are more important.

“Every country, they try to do that little support to the teams in European football, but here it’s difficult.”

There are only two English sides left in Europe, with Leicester drawn against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Mourinho believes there could have been more English teams still involved if the Premier League and the FA gave teams more time to prepare for and recover from European fixtures.

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“My time in Italy, they decided when clubs got to the knockout stages of the Europa League and Champions League, the week before, if they play Tuesday or Wednesday, they play on the Friday,” he added.

“In Portugal, every team that plays in Europe, they play on the next Monday. So every country’s doing that. Germany’s doing that.

“It makes no sense [not to do it]. 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 Europa League and one English club in the Champions League. I think we are good enough to have more.”

Mourinho was frustrated that United’s Europa League last-16 second leg against Rostov this week was sandwiched between an FA Cup quarter-final at Chelsea on Monday and a midday league game at Middlesbrough on Sunday.

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At one point in the second half at Old Trafford, he even peeled a banana on the touchline and had it passed onto the pitch for a fatigued Marcos Rojo to eat.

“We should be the last team to play in the weekend,” he said. “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. We cannot even sleep on Sunday morning. We have to wake up at seven o’clock to eat and to come to the game.”

United have now played 11 games in just over six weeks, with Paul Pogba out for three weeks after injuring a hamstring against Rostov.

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“Of course it was accumulation of fatigue. That’s obvious,” said Mourinho. “He was already feeling his hamstring in the first half. In the second half immediately he felt he couldn’t carry on, so even a physical monster like him felt it. Paul is paying the price.

“But in Rostov when I was speaking with the [Uefa] delegate about the conditions of the stadium, he was telling me, ‘If a player gets injured, no problem, because they have insurance.’

“I think in England it’s also a little bit of the same. ‘He gets millions, let him run. If he breaks, he breaks. He’s insured. No problem.’”