Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has called out the Premier League for supposed bias when scheduling the holiday fixtures.
“The busy period is for some clubs, not for everyone,” Mourinho said during his pre-match press conference ahead of their Boxing Day match at home against Sunderland. “If you analyse the fixtures there is no congestion for them. It looks like the fixtures are chosen to give rest for some and to create problems to others. But we are used to it because we are in Europa League and the Europa League is a competition that creates more difficulties.”
In response to Mourinho’s comments, The Telegraph produced graphics to illustrate the relative congestion each club will face the next week or two, and Manchester United seems to have it relatively easy. They have the lowest average point total of the teams they will face, and they have a normal amount of rest days compared to the rest of the league.
Southampton appear to have the most difficult stretch, with the fewest rest days between their games, while Stoke has the most difficult opponent stretch over the holidays with games against Liverpool, Chelsea, and Watford. Chelsea has it incredibly easy, with the most rest days of anyone and also having very little travel, with two home matches plus a cross-London trip to Tottenham.
“We know that, Southampton know that, Tottenham will know that later,” Mourinho said. “It’s very difficult for us but it’s more of the same.”
The Premier League is known for being one of the only European leagues that play over the holiday season. Most top leagues take a month break, something many foreign managers are used to when they come to the Premier League. Mourinho, however, has plenty of experience with it.
During Chelsea’s last title-winning season under Mourinho two years ago, they suffered one of their three Premier League losses during the break, losing to Tottenham 5-3 on New Year’s Day.