Manchester United’s packed fixture schedule has led to further complaints from Jose Mourinho as the Red Devils manager launched a sly dig at Manchester City.
United are through to the last 16 of the Europa League following a 4-0 aggregate win over St Etienne, while they are also in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and contest the EFL Cup final against Southampton on Sunday.
In total, Mourinho’s side could play 67 games this season, and while they are also vying for Champions League qualification through their Premier League placing, our Monday Verdict suggested the club could become a victim of their own success this season.
There is little let-up on the horizon and the United boss was irked by the Football Association having already announced the FA Cup quarter-final with Chelsea will be on Monday, 13 March, sandwiched between their Europa League last-16 first and second legs.
Mourinho was perplexed by the decision to announce the date before Friday’s European draw and took a shot at the organisers, as well as a swipe at rivals Manchester City after their much-changed side last season lost 5-1 at Chelsea in the FA Cup.
Asked if he was worried the FA Cup scheduling would hinder his chances of progress, Mourinho said: “Of course and I feel really surprised that the decision is made before our draw in Europe.
“Because in this moment nobody knows where we play, nobody knows where the first and second matches are.
“Imagine we play Chelsea on Monday and then we have to go to the second match in Europe in Russia, Turkey or Greece.
“I think once more the interests, they go in front of the clubs and English football’s interests, and nobody cares about it. But this is what I have.
“I cannot play against Chelsea with the second team. I cannot play against Chelsea with the under-21s like Manchester City did last year. I cannot do that – we are Manchester United.
“I don’t do that as Manchester United manager. I don’t do that to the FA Cup because the FA Cup is not guilty of these decisions.
“The FA Cup is beautiful, the competition is historical. I have to treat Manchester United supporters and the FA Cup in the right way.
“I cannot go there with under-21s. Probably they would deserve it, but I don’t do that, so what is going to happen is an accumulation of matches.
“People playing a lot of matches, I have to make some rotation but some of the boys will have to play in all these consecutive matches.
“And if situations like the Mkhitaryan one or the Carrick one happen, they happen.”