Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has defended himself in response to criticism of his treatment of German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger.
There has been a backlash against Mourinho after Schweinsteiger was reportedly made to train alone and with the under-23 squad since the 53-year-old’s arrival at Old Trafford.
The criticism has been particularly loud in Schweinsteiger’s home nation, with Bayern Munich chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge saying other players need to think “long and hard” before moving to United in the future, while Slovenia FifPro member Dejan Stefanovic said Mourinho ‘should be jailed’ for “bullying” the midfielder.
However, Mourinho chose to give a pragmatic answer during Friday’s press conference, saying his squad is simply too big at the moment.
“The manager decides his squad and chooses a certain number of players to face the season. That is it,” the Portuguese coach said.
“I normally like to work with 20 players plus the three goalkeepers, which is what I have done for 15 years, because we have so many players but at the same time we have so many competitions and especially the Europa League.”
“That is a competition that changes a lot at the start of the season, with 15 matches and playing on the Thursday, a big risk of a lot of travel. You play Premier League on Sundays. I made the decision to be with 23 plus three goalkeepers, which is still a lot. I had to make my decisions. It is simple.”
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Mourinho, who replaced Louis van Gaal this summer, also confirmed that defenders Chris Smalling and Timothy Fosu-Mensah are fit again.
“They are fine now,” Mourinho told reporters. “They have recovered and they are training with the group as normal, so they are fine. Everybody needs minutes – that is the reality.”
“We had so little time to play and Smalling is a player who has not even played one minute. But it is a little bit the same for everyone.”