Tuesday 16 January 2018

Jose Mourinho mocks Manchester United injury 'crisis'

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho during the press conference today
Action Images via Reuters / Matthew Childs
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho during the press conference today Action Images via Reuters / Matthew Childs Livepic

Jose Mourinho has poured scorn on claims Manchester United are facing an injury crisis ahead of their crunch clash with Chelsea on Saturday.

United’s hopes of derailing Mourinho’s charge towards his third Premier League title were hit on Friday by the news Michael Carrick, Phil Jones, Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo would miss the game at Stamford Bridge.

That would make manager Louis van Gaal’s only available centre-halves Chris Smalling, Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett.

But when it was suggested to Mourinho that Chelsea therefore would be facing a weakened side, he replied: “I disagree because their squad is amazing, in numbers, players, experience, solutions.

 “Every week, I have in my office not the team I’m going to play against, but on the big screen the squad and all the options. This week, when I arrived in the room, for the first time in the week, I realised what they have. It’s amazing.”

Mourinho claimed United were perfectly capable of coping without some of their key players.

“Of course,” he said. “You want me to name their players? [Juan] Mata, [Angel] Di Maria, [Adnan] Januzaj, [Wayne] Rooney, [Robin] van Persie, [Ander] Herrera, [Michael] Carrick, [Daley] Blind, [Marouane] Fellaini.”

Pointed out none of them were defenders, Mourinho added: “The kids played a lot of matches and are more than ready.

 “I went to Queens Park Rangers with [Didier] Drogba and no strikers on the bench and, for a long time, because of suspensions or injuries or your suspensions […] we were in trouble.

“You have to cope with it. I know Mr Van Gaal very well, and he’s the kind of person to think at this moment that, ‘We have a fantastic squad and will go with what we have’. Injuries are part of the game.”

Mourinho revealed his own squad needed no motivation for a match against Chelsea’s big rivals, one that could see them move 10 points clear at the top of the table, within touching distance of the title.

He said: “This week, I was not worried about motivating players or demanding players to be focused on the game and the opponent, because there is no need. It’s an easy job. It is a special fixture.”

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