English Premiership

Mourinho bemoans 'poisoned' schedule

2016-09-30 07:00
Jose Mourinho (Getty Images)

Manchester - Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho rued the "poisoned gift" of his side's fixture schedule as he contemplated a potentially seismic run of matches in October.

United got their Europa League campaign off the ground with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Zorya Luhansk at Old Trafford on Thursday and host Group A leaders Fenerbahce in their next game on October 20.

Prior to that, they face a Monday night match at arch rivals Liverpool, with a trip to Chelsea, in the Premier League, and a crunch game against Manchester City in the League Cup to follow.

"We could play Liverpool on the Saturday or the Sunday. We play Liverpool on the Monday," said Mourinho, whose side are level on points in Group A with Feyenoord.

"So maybe we don't have the best conditions, especially because we play against two top Premier League teams that don't play in European competition (Liverpool and Chelsea).

"We have this kind of poisoned gift of playing on the Monday that creates a very difficult situation. But we want to try to qualify for the next round. We want to try.

"Long time to go, almost a month. But we want to try so we play against Fenerbache with a team with possibilities to beat Fenerbahce."

United struggled to break down a well drilled Zorya team, who were playing their first game against English opposition after finishing fourth in the Ukrainian Premier League last season.

Mourinho conceded that United's win had been "hard work" and while he praised Zorya's defensive organisation, he bemoaned what he saw as their delaying tactics.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic headed home a 69th-minute winner after substitute Wayne Rooney's mishit volley, which struck his knee, hit the ground and looped towards the back post.

"He was laughing and saying that he made a great assist," Mourinho said of Rooney, who started on the bench for the second game running after overcoming a back problem.

Ibrahimovic has now scored six goals in 10 appearances for United since his close-season switch from Paris Saint-Germain.

"If you want to go through, you need to win the game. We did that," said the Swedish striker.

"We could have done much more though and I expect much more from the team. We did not score as we did against Leicester, but it is good for confidence.

"If we continue this and step it up, we will do good."

United had strolled to a 4-1 win over league champions Leicester City last weekend, having lost their three previous matches.

They entertain Stoke City, the Premier League's second-bottom side, on Sunday and Mourinho warned against reading too much into the league position of Mark Hughes's team.

"Let us concentrate on Stoke because Stoke is another poisoned gift," he said.

"Because Stoke is not what the table sees. The manager is very good, the players are good, the team is good.

"So when I look to the table, that's not Stoke's position. I play against a good Stoke and not the Stoke that is in that position in the table."


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

29 October 2016
Sunderland v Arsenal, Stadium of Light 13:30
Manchester United v Burnley, Old Trafford 16:00
Middlesbrough v Bournemouth, Riverside Stadium 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester City, The Hawthorns 16:00
Watford v Hull City, Vicarage Road 16:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City, White Hart Lane 16:00
Crystal Palace v Liverpool, Selhurst Park 18:30
30 October 2016
Everton v West Ham United, Goodison Park 15:30
Southampton v Chelsea, St. Mary's Stadium 18:00
31 October 2016
Stoke City v Swansea City, Britannia Stadium 22:00
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2016/17 season?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.