José Mourinho blames Paul Pogba injury on crowded fixture schedule

• Frustrated United manager says fatigue is beginning to affect his players
• Tiredness means ‘we will probably lose at Middlesbrough now’

José Mourinho hit out at English fixture scheduling after losing Paul Pogba to a hamstring injury in the Europa League victory over Rostov.

Manchester United’s France international is likely to be out for three weeks, and thus unable to play at Middlesbrough on Sunday or link up with his national team in the upcoming international break. Mourinho believes the injury was a result of fatigue. Marcos Rojo was so energy depleted during the game that he called for a banana to be brought on to the pitch.

“We have lots of enemies,” Mourinho said. “Normally it would just be Rostov but we have a lot more.

“It is difficult to play Monday with 10 men, it is difficult to play now, it is difficult to play at 12 o’clock on a Sunday. We will probably lose at Middlesbrough now. Fatigue has a price.”

Mourinho admitted his side had been laboured against the Russian team, but pointed out that all Rostov’s recent opponents in Europe had found them tough to play against.

“They defend with a block of 10 players and that makes it hard,” he said. “Our plan was to try and kill the game in the first half when we still had energy, but it didn’t happen and in the second half it began to run out. It might have been different had we scored in the first half but the nearest we came was hitting the post.”

In less confrontational mood, Mourinho told the BBC in advance of the Rostov game that he felt United had made mistakes in the transfer market before he arrived at Old Trafford.

“I found a sad club,” Mourinho said, adding that United had got rid of players he would never have sold and also spent money on players that he would never have bought.

Ángel Di María, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernández were confirmed as three players he would never have sold, and while he did not go into details about the players he did not fancy, it is easy to draw conclusions from his treatment of Bastian Schweinsteiger and prompt release of Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin.

Mourinho also said he did not believe it was possible to restore United to the level of dominance they enjoyed under Sir Alex Ferguson.

“Forget it,’ he said. “Don’t try to go 10, 20 years ago because it is not possible any more. We are not ready to dominate. We are ready to fight for every game but we are not ready to try and win everything.”

comments powered by Disqus