Thursday 18 January 2018

Jose Mourinho bemoans lack of rest for his Manchester United stars following Champions League romp

Jose Mourinho looks on during the UEFA Champions League group A match between CSKA Moskva and Manchester United
Jose Mourinho looks on during the UEFA Champions League group A match between CSKA Moskva and Manchester United

Carl Markham

Manchester United coasted to a 4-1 victory over CSKA Moscow in Russia but manager Jose Mourinho is still concerned about the knock-on effect when they return to the Premier League.

Romelu Lukaku took his tally to 10 in his first nine matches for the club, bettering the record of the great Sir Bobby Charlton who only scored nine in the same number, with a double as Anthony Martial scored a penalty and Henrikh Mkhitaryan adding the fourth just after half-time.

Substitute Konstantin Kuchaev's 90th-minute consolation came too late to worry the visitors but Mourinho - missing seven senior players in Moscow - is already looking at their return to Premier League action.

United are level on points with local rivals City, unbeaten in six matches, and the visit of rock-bottom Palace, without a point or a goal yet, should hardly be cause for concern.

Yet Mourinho believes they have been put at a disadvantage to some of their rivals as, for example, Liverpool played in Moscow on Tuesday and travel to Newcastle on Sunday so have two days' extra rest.

"For the team confidence is good because six points in two matches in the Champions League puts us in a good position and for the players individually it is also good because we had very good performances," he added.

"(Chris) Smalling and (Victor) Lindelof had very good performances, (Ander) Herrera has not started a match in a long time and had a good performance, so did Anthony Martial - and I am speaking about the players who are not starting matches.

"The Premier League is another story. We play Saturday three o'clock against a fresh team and we have to play after this match.

"We have to keep our feet on the ground, stay humble and follow our direction because we are having a very good start to the season.

"We have started competitions strong in August and September and have now just one more game, a difficult one."

Mourinho can at least rely on Lukaku, who is on such a hot scoring streak.

"They are amazing numbers for Romelu. He is humble and wants to learn and improve all the time," he said.

"I think ambition is there and I trust he can keep performing for us.

"It is a great achievement but it is only possible with a good team. Without a good team it is not possible and the team is playing well."

Press Association

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