Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


I’ve not gambled on Europa League – Mourinho

Manchester United’s Jose Mourinho attends a press conference at Old Trafford in Manchester on May 10, 2017, ahead of their UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg football match against Celta Vigo © AFP / Miguel RIOPA

Manchester, United Kingdom, May 10 – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has not gambled with the club’s season by prioritising Europa League success over a top-four finish in the Premier League, he said on Wednesday.

Mourinho has given up on United’s hopes of securing Champions League qualification via the league and fielded a weakened team in last Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal.

United are 1-0 up ahead of the home leg of their Europa League semi-final against Celta Vigo on Thursday and with victory in the tournament yielding a Champions League slot, Mourinho says his choices were entirely rational.

“The situation is simple. Seventeen matches in seven weeks with 16 players is impossible. It was not a gamble. It was a simple decision,” he told reporters at Old Trafford.

“It was a decision based on common sense. Seventeen matches in seven weeks, April and May. Seventeen matches with 16 players is completely impossible.

“We lost four players in one week, when we lost (Chris) Smalling and (Phil) Jones in the (England) national team and (Marcos) Rojo and Zlatan (Ibrahimovic) against Anderlecht (in the previous round).

“After that we lost boys that could be alternatives: Ashley Young, Luke Shaw, Timothy Fosu-Mensah. When we lost these players in a period of 17 matches in seven weeks, it was the impossible job.

“It was not a gamble, just a consequence of our situation.”

Mourinho has already led United to victory in the League Cup, but they lie four points off the Champions League places with three matches of the Premier League season remaining.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

More accustomed to competing for Champions League titles, United are bidding to reach the final of Europe’s second-tier competition for the first time in their history.

– Atmosphere ‘not consistent’ –

Manchester United’s Jose Mourinho attends a team training session at the club’s training complex near Carrington, west of Manchester in north west England on May 10, 2017 © AFP / Paul ELLIS

Spanish side Celta have never reached a continental final of any stripe, but Mourinho says there will be no difference between the teams when it comes to their will to win.

“In terms of motivation we are even,” said the Portuguese, who led Porto to glory in the UEFA Cup –- as the Europa League was formerly known -– in 2003.

“For Celta, in their words it’s the most important match of their history. My feeling is also the most important match of our history. It doesn’t matter what happened before, how big the matches before were.

“What matters is the next one and the next one is tomorrow. I don’t think Celta want it more than us. So in this aspect I don’t think there will be a difference between the teams.”

Mourinho revealed United will be without Rojo, Shaw, Young, Fosu-Mensah and Ibrahimovic for the rest of the season, but he reported no new injury problems

Celta have scored in all six of their Europa League away games this season and with United’s lead so slender, Mourinho challenged the club’s supporters to provide a fitting atmosphere for the occasion.

“I see a difference between matches. I don’t think it’s consistent, the atmosphere, the enthusiasm,” he said.

“For example, the match against Chelsea (which United won 2-0), I could feel they (the fans) wanted to play. They played from the first minute until the last minute. It was really a very strong Old Trafford.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“We had other matches, for example against Anderlecht, where the stadium was not warm enough to make us feel that was a very important match for us.

“And it was, because it was a quarter-final second leg. So hopefully tomorrow they have this feeling it’s a semi-final second leg and more important than a quarter-final second leg. So we have to fight hard tomorrow.”


More on Capital Sports


NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – There is light at the end of the tunnel. After failed promises over the last three years since its...


NAIROBI, Kenya, June 8 – Olympic Champion Caster Semenya and wife Violet Raseboya have hinted that they might be expecting a baby in a...


NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 15 – Daniel Wanjiru, the 2017 London Marathon champion has been slapped with a four-year ban by the World Athletics Disciplinary...


NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 13 – Kenya’s history making Daniel Adongo, the first Kenyan to play in America’s National Football League (NFL), is now living...

© 2020 Capital Digital Media. Capital Group Limited. All Rights Reserved