MANCHESTER United face a game just under every four days in April as their fixture logjam reaches bursting point.
After learning of their Europa League draw against Anderlecht, Jose Mourinho declared the Premier League just doesn’t care about Manchester United.
After predicting his side would “probably lose the game on Sunday. Fatigue has a price”, the United manager complained about the congested schedule again, saying his team shouldn’t have to get back on the field early on Sunday after playing in the Europa League on Thursday night.
“They simply don’t care,” Mourinho said after United reached the Europa League quarterfinals by beating Rostov 1-0.
“In other countries they try to do that little support to the teams in Europe. But here it is difficult. We go Sunday at 12 o’clock. Why? Why us? So it’s going to be even more difficult for us.”
United played in the FA Cup on Monday, losing to Chelsea. They then had to play Thursday in the second leg of the Europa League. And the team now has only Friday and Saturday off before and an early wakeup call on Sunday to face Middlesbrough in the Premier League.
Over Christmas they played five times in 16 days.
They still do not know when postponed Premier League games against Manchester City and Southampton will be played.
UNITED’S POTENTIA FIXTURE LIST
Premier League: West Brom (H), April 1
Premier League: Everton (H), April 4
Premier League: Sunderland (A), April 9
Europa League: Anderlecht (A), April 13
Premier League: Chelsea (H), April 16
Europa League: Anderlecht (H), April 20
Premier League: Burnley (A), April 23
Premier League: Swansea (H), April 30
Europa League: ?, May 4
Premier League: Arsenal (A), May 6/7
Europa League: ? May 11
Premier League: Tottenham (A), May 13/14
Premier League: Crystal Palace (H), May 21
Europa League: ? May 24
Premier League: Manchester City – TBC
Premier League: Southampton- TBC
“We should be the last team to play in the weekend, it is as simple as that,” Mourinho said.
“We should play Monday. Or we should play the last match on Sunday. Not 12 o’clock. At least let us sleep a little bit on Sunday, right?”
United is in sixth place in the Premier League with 49 points, six points behind fourth-place Liverpool and the coveted Champions League places.
On Thursday, United produced a lethargic performance in beating Russian club Rostov 1-0 and also lost midfielder Paul Pogba to a hamstring injury.
Mourinho said it was no surprise United was picking up injuries “due to an accumulation of fatigue.”
“He was already feeling something in the first half and immediately he felt he couldn’t carry on in the second. Even a physical monster like him felt it,” Mourinho said.
“He was one of the players who never had a rest, because he played every game.”
United defender Marcos Rojo even ate a banana on the field toward the end of the game to try to boost his energy levels — indicative, Mourinho said, of a player “at their limit.”
“I did not think it was a funny situation. When I watch marathons, when I watch other sports and people go to the limit, I don’t think it’s funny,” Mourinho said. “I don’t think it’s funny that some of our players have played 11 matches in six weeks.”
In 1999, when United won the treble, they played 14 games in 54 days and that’s the schedule this crop are facing if they make it to the Europa League final.
But there’s a warning from Liverpool last year, if Mourinho considers conceding the top four race to concentrate on Europe. Jurgen Klopp’s side faded to eighth domestically and lost the Europa League final, meaning they missed out on Europe altogether.
Meanwhile, Manchester United was fined 20,000 pounds ($ 24,700) by the English Football Association on Friday for failing to control its players in the FA Cup quarterfinal defeat at Chelsea.
After midfielder Ander Herrera was sent off in the first half on Monday at Stamford Bridge, United players reacted angrily, surrounding referee Michael Oliver.
Herrera was booked twice for fouling Chelsea winger Eden Hazard, the second time right in front of Oliver.
United accepted the misconduct charge.