Friendlies irk Mour­inho

Mour­inho ‘to­tally against’ these mean­ing­less matches

New Straits Times - - Sport -

JOSE Mour­inho has hit out at in­ter­na­tional friendlies, say­ing he sees no rea­son for them to be played mid­sea­son af­ter Manch­ester United lost Chris Smalling and Phil Jones to in­juries while on Eng­land duty.

MANCH­ESTER United man­ager Jose Mour­inho says he is “to­tally against” in­ter­na­tional friendlies fol­low­ing in­juries to key cen­tral de­fend­ers Chris Smalling and Phil Jones on Eng­land duty.

Mour­inho ex­pects to be with­out five first-team play­ers against West Bromwich Al­bion to­mor­row, in­clud­ing the in­jured Paul Pogba and sus­pended Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic.

“I am to­tally against the friendly matches,” Mour­inho told Sky Sports, af­ter Jones had to with­draw from the Eng­land squad with a toe in­jury suf­fered in a train­ing ground clash with Smalling, who pulled out af­ter sus­tain­ing a leg in­jury in the Ger­many friendly.

Both de­fend­ers missed Eng­land’s 2-0 World Cup qual­i­fy­ing win over Lithua­nia, lead­ing Mour­inho to ques­tion the need for friendlies dur­ing the sea­son.

“I think friendly matches for the na­tional team only make sense be­fore the fi­nal phases.

“A cou­ple of weeks be­fore the Eu­ros or a cou­ple of weeks be­fore the World Cup makes sense. But mid-sea­son friendly matches mixed with qual­i­fi­ca­tion matches, I don’t think that makes sense.

“On top of that the matches are not re­ally big matches so I am not a big fan. But I think one day I will be there so I can­not be very crit­i­cal,” he said.

Mour­inho, who had 13 play­ers away on in­ter­na­tional duty, be­lieves his side will be at a dis­ad­van­tage when they re­sume Premier League ac­tion at Old Traf­ford this week­end. “If you com­pare our sit­u­a­tion with our op­po­nents, West Brom, only one player on in­ter­na­tional duty,” Mour­inho told this week’s Soc­cer Satur­day pro­gramme.

“They had time to work, time to rest and pre­pare. It’s go­ing to be hard.”

A cou­ple of weeks be­fore the Eu­ros or a cou­ple of weeks be­fore the World Cup makes sense. But mid-sea­son friendly matches mixed with qual­i­fi­ca­tion matches, I don’t think that makes sense. JOSE MOUR­INHO

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