Manchester United players and Jose Mourinho have been left fuming over the club’s poor organisation following Monday’s defeat to Chelsea.
United had been set to travel back to Manchester on a chartered flight after their FA Cup tie against the Blues in London but were told the flight was unavailable on arrival at Heathrow.
The Daily Record report that Mourinho was told the flight, which was still overseas, was not due to land at the airport until 02.30am. Angered by the news, the decision was made to drive back to Manchester, rather than wait three hours at the airport.
According to sources, the club bus arrived back at 04.00am, hindering the club’s preparations for Thursday’s Europa League second-leg tie against Rostov.
The airport incident isn’t the first time the first team have been hampered by the club’s internal organisation.
There have been reports over ‘penny-pinching’ tactics when first teamers have been buying replica kits and tickets. On top of this, injured players have also had their rehabilitation delayed due to health and safety issues at the club’s multi-million pound training facility.
Now both players and manager are angered by the club’s inability to adequately support them during a season where they are likely to play more competitive fixtures than any of their rivals.
“How can it be possible that a club with hundreds of employees, and which has a crucial match to play a couple of days later, does not have an aeroplane ready and waiting for the team?”
“Are Manchester United still a big club? Things like this make it look like a very small one,” a United source told the Daily Record.
Mourinho, who sees the Europa League as another realistic chance for United to qualify for the Champions League, has been angered further by football scheduling, which saw United’s quarter-final FA Cup tie against Chelsea arranged just 72 hours before his side face Rostov.
“After Thursday in Rostov and Rostov again this Thursday I am really proud of the guys,” said Mourinho.
“I have a very difficult match on Thursday. My opponent Rostov played on Sunday at three o’clock, we played 7.45pm on a Monday.
“It is a great protection for an English club playing in the Europa League.
“The Europa League is a competition that can give us a Champions League spot and the FA Cup isn’t so the Europa League is more important than the FA Cup for us.”