Following Manchester United’s 1-0 victory that saw the Red Devils through to the quarterfinals of the Europa League, Jose Mourinho was not in a happy mood. Surprise.
The grumpy United boss said that “today’s enemy” was FC Rostov, but there are many other factors that United was up against as they progress through the season.
“It was a difficult game,” Mourinho told BT Sport after the game. “We have lots of enemies. Normally the enemy should be Rostov, but we have lots of enemies. It’s difficult to play Monday night [against Chelsea] with 10 men, it’s difficult to play now, it’s difficult to play Sunday at 12 o’clock [against Middlesbrough]. We have lots of enemies, but the boys were fantastic.”
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The victory came at a heavy price. Paul Pogba limped off just after halftime, and Mourinho blamed his injury on “fatigue,” reverting back to his other complaints. “Fatigue has a price,” Mourinho claimed. “I will remember forever when I spoke with the Uefa delegate in Rostov. He told me if any one of your players gets injured, the insurance pays, so the pitch is not a problem. Probably the people that decide the matches for us on the Monday, on the Sunday at 12 o’clock, probably will think the same: if they are injured, they are insured. No problem!”
To be fair, the pitch in Russia for the first leg against Rostov was in terrible shape, and while Manchester United escaped that individual match unscathed, it’s impossible to know what effects that had on the squad health. Nevertheless, the Premier League obviously has no vested interest in making Manchester United’s fixture list more or less difficult on purpose, and would have no reason to favor any team when choosing fixture times and locations.
There is no word yet on the severity of Pogba’s injury, thought to be a hamstring problem.