‘League bid tougher due to Europa League’

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

MANCH­ESTER UNITED’S chances of win­ning the Pre­mier League could be hin­dered by their Europa League cam­paign, man­ager Jose Mour­inho has said.

United faced Dutch league lead­ers Feyeno­ord in their open­ing group game in Europe’s sec­ond-tier com­pe­ti­tion overnight, with Mour­inho opt­ing to rest the likes of cap­tain Wayne Rooney, An­to­nio Va­len­cia and Luke Shaw for the trip to Rot­ter­dam.

The Por­tuguese, who lifted the tro­phy with Porto in 2003 when it was the UEFA Cup, said the con­gested fix­ture list was not ideal for his side to chal­lenge for their 21st English league ti­tle.

“It’s more dif­fi­cult, yes (to win the Pre­mier League when you are play­ing in the Europa League),” Mour­inho told re­porters.

“It would be bet­ter if we had the priv­i­lege of play­ing on a Mon­day af­ter a Thurs­day game to have one day (re­cov­ery) but we didn’t get that priv­i­lege.

“In fact, the gift we have is to play Liver­pool on the Mon­day be­fore, not the Mon­day af­ter. So (next month) we play Liver­pool on the Mon­day, Fener­bahce on the Thurs­day and Chelsea on the Sun­day.

“So we know that we are not go­ing to have any kind of sup­port on that.”

United missed out on a Cham- pi­ons League spot af­ter fin­ish­ing fifth in the league last sea­son, and the for­mer Chelsea and Real Madrid man­ager said that the three-time Euro­pean cham­pi­ons would re­spect the Europa League.

“It is not a com­pe­ti­tion that United wants.

“It is not one I want or the play­ers want but it is a com­pe­ti­tion where we are and that is the re­al­ity,” Mour­inho added. – Reuters

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