Tuesday 26 September 2017

Money-hungry Premier League are crippling United's hopes - Mourinho

The Manchester United manager believes the big money in the Premier League is largely
responsible for a fixture schedule he fears is crippling his players and undermining English hopes in Europe. Photo credit: Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP
The Manchester United manager believes the big money in the Premier League is largely responsible for a fixture schedule he fears is crippling his players and undermining English hopes in Europe. Photo credit: Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP

James Ducker

Jose Mourinho launched an all-out assault on the Premier League yesterday, accusing the organisation's chiefs of not giving a "s**t" about the fortunes of English clubs in Europe and claiming they were happy to see players flogged to breaking point.

The Manchester United manager believes the big money in the Premier League is largely responsible for a fixture schedule he fears is crippling his players and undermining English hopes in Europe.

Despite acknowledging the benefits of the huge financial income Premier League clubs receive from bumper television deals, Mourinho believes the game's powerbrokers must start to apply "a little bit of common sense" with scheduling by following the lead of their European counterparts, who move fixtures to accommodate their clubs' needs.

By contrast, Mourinho said he was at a loss to explain why United's league match away to Middlesbrough kicks off at lunchtime tomorrow, as opposed to later in the day, given that his team faced FC Rostov in the second leg of their Europa League round of 16 tie on Thursday night.

He also blamed an accumulation of games for the hamstring injury Paul Pogba suffered against Rostov and which has ruled him out of the trip to Boro.

"I don't understand not having any help in relation to European football," said Mourinho, who claimed United will "probably lose" to Boro because of fatigue.

"I don't ask for me - I ask for everyone," he added. "I think they (the Premier League) don't give an 's' about English teams in Europe.

"In other countries they try to do that little support to the teams in Europe. But here it is difficult. We go Sunday at 12.0. Why? We should be the last team to play in the weekend.

My time in Italy was when the Italians decided that clubs that go to the knockout stages and play on Tuesday or Wednesday, the week before they play on the Friday.

"In Portugal, every team in Europe plays on the next Monday. So every country is doing that. Germany is doing that."

Mourinho, whose United side were paired against Belgian league leaders Anderlecht in the draw for the Europa League quarter-finals yesterday, added: "It's the simple criteria of 'we give you so much money', which is true, and we appreciate that.

"Without them and their money the Premier League wouldn't be the Premier League. But you can do that and just have a little touch."

Mourinho's complaints have cut little ice with Roy Keane, who labelled the United manager's comments as "utter garbage" and questioned whether the club is "too big for him".

"I've never heard so much rubbish in my life. Why do we have to listen to that garbage?," Keane said. "He's manager of Manchester United, one of the biggest clubs on the planet - the squad he's got, the players, and he keeps moaning about fixtures and fatigue."

© Daily Telegraph, London)

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