Jose Mourinho has once again cited a crowded schedule and injuries to key players as the reason for his side’s struggles.
The Portuguese boss defended his decision to rotate his starting XI against Arsenal as Manchester United went down 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium.
Mourinho made eight changes to the team that beat Celta Vigo in the first leg of the Europa League semi-final.
“The situation is simple; 17 matches in seven weeks with 16 players is impossible. It was not a gamble, it was a simple decision, a decision based on common sense. 17 matches in seven weeks, April and May, with 16 players is completely impossible.
“We lost players, four in one week, when we lost Smalling and Jones in the national team and Rojo and Zlatan against Anderlecht.
“After that we lost boys who were good alternatives… when we lost these players in a period of 17 matches in 7 weeks, it was the impossible job. It was not a gamble, but a consequence of our situation.
“Let’s see if tomorrow we can do it. No matter what, we are giving everything we can. We have no regrets.
“We’re aiming to get into a European final, it’ll be very important to fight for the only trophy that the club has never won before, and for this group of players. We have just a little group with European success.
“I think [Wayne] Rooney, [Michael] Carrick, [Ashley] Young are this group of English boys with a long time in the club [to have won titles] plus Mata [as part of another club] but most have not done it before.
“We are going to prove tomorrow what we’ve been for the whole season which is to fight hard in match No 14 in the Europa League in order to reach the final.”
In addition, the Red Devils’ boss criticised the Old Trafford atmosphere, claiming fans have been too inconsistent in their support.
“I see a difference between matches. I don’t think the atmosphere is consistent,’ he added. ‘Against Chelsea they wanted to play from the first minute to the last. The game against Anderlecht wasn’t warm enough to make a thrill, for a quarter-final.
“But If we don’t qualify for the Champions League, it’s because we’re not good enough. We have just to focus on where we are and nobody has more motivation than I have to try and win tomorrow.”