We take a look at the excerpts from the Special One’s presser ahead of vital Europa League clash in Ukraine.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has criticised UEFA, European football’s governing body, ahead of his side’s final Europa League group fixture against Zorya Luhansk on Thursday over the icy conditions in Ukraine.
The temperature is set to plunge to -7 degrees with officials at the Chonomorets Stadium wor
king around the clock to ensure the surface is playable.
Manchester United face Zorya at the Chornomorets Stadium in Odessa, and Mourinho questioned UEFA’s decision to hold such a frosty fixture in December:
“The pitch is hard, the pitch is icy”, Mourinho said.
He added, “I think UEFA know the conditions of the pitch and everyone knows the conditions in Ukraine and Eastern Europe in mid-December are more difficult. So if UEFA was worried about it, they should change the fixtures and not allow it to be played here in mid-December. So I think that is a problem.”
Mourinho bridled at the Premier League too heading into the busiest portion of the English football calendar, adding: “It is difficult to play Thursdays and Sundays, we never get a Monday game to help us.”
ON EUROPA AMBITIONS
“We assumed from the beginning that the Europa League was an important competition for us, but difficult because we play Thursday and then Sundays,” said Mourinho.
He added, “We want to try to win it and we want to go to the knockout stage, then go as far as possible, step by step, and the first step is this game.”
Travelling squad: De Gea, Romero, Johnstone; Fosu-Mensah, Jones, Bailly, Rojo, Blind, Young; Fellaini, Herrera, Pogba, Lingard, Mata, Mkhitaryan; Martial, Rashford, Rooney, Ibrahimovic.
ON MUFC SQUAD TO FACE ZORYA
Among those who failed to travel with the squad to Odessa are Michael Carrick, Matteo Darmian, Antonio Valencia, Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin. The latter two of whom have uncertain futures at the club.
Mourinho suggested any players left behind were omitted for their own protection.
One has to wonder if it was the protection for the forthcoming Spurs clash or to prevent possible departures from getting injured?
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 7, 2016
A win over Zorya on Thursday would guarantee the Red Devils a place in the Europa League round of 32. They could top Group A if Fenerbahce fail to take three points in their trip to Feyenoord.