Jose Mourinho laments United’s fixture list saying: ‘We have lots of enemies’

Updated: March 17, 2017

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho aimed an attack on the fixture schedulers after his side progressed to the quarter-finals of the Europa League with a 2-1 aggregate win over Rostov.

United, who played on Monday in he FA Cup at Chelsea and face a trip to Middlesbrough for a Sunday lunchtime kick-off, won 1-0 on the night thanks to Juan Mata’s second-half strike.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic hit the the woodwork twice while Paul Pogba also stung the hands of Rostov goalkeeper Nikita Medvedev in a goalless first-half before the world’s most expensive player went off injured early in the second half.

The visitors had arguably the best chance when Sardar Azmoun’s left-footed strike from the edge of the box was superbly kept out by Sergio Romero before Mata popped up to tap in with 20 minutes remaining.

Christian Noboa’s stoppage-time free-kick forced a superb save from Romero to prevent the tie from going to extra-time and although the United boss was delighted with his side’s performance, he had a damning reaction to his team’s fixture pile-up.

Mourinho told BT Sport 2: “In the first half we were fresh, not bad and we were really dominant and we created chances and looked like we were going to score a couple of goals to kill it.

“I was afraid of extra-time and I knew I had Marcos Rojo in trouble, so it was a difficult game.

“We have lots of enemies, it is difficult to play Monday night, it is difficult to play Monday night with 10 men, it is difficult to play now and it is difficult to play on Sunday at 12 o’clock so we have lots of enemies, but the boys were fantastic.


“We have lots of things going against us and we will have to fight and we will probably lose on Sunday. Fatigue has a price.”

On being the only team from the top six of the Premier League left in Europe, the Portuguese responded: “It is bad for us because the five teams in front of us in the Premier League has no international football. They will play one match a week and do not know what fatigue is.”

Goalscorer Mata was relieved to qualify to the last eight of the competition.

He told BT Sport 2: “It was a matter of finishing our chances again. I think in the first half we created some nice chances but we couldn’t finish – we need to score and if not it is difficult to go through.

“They are a team to that push until the end and they play with a difficult system to play against but I think we did well. It was important to get through, Sergio (Romero) did a good job, our defenders as well, so we are happy today.”