For once Mour­inho, Wenger agree – EPL fes­tive fix­ture list was un­fair

The Star Early Edition - - SOCCER -

LON­DON: Manch­ester United man­ager Jose Mour­inho, pic­tured, re­peated his com­plaints about the Pre­mier League’s fes­tive fix­ture pile-up after his side laboured to a 2-0 win at 10-man West Ham United on Mon­day.

The Por­tuguese coach blamed United’s mixed per­for­mance on hav­ing to play their sec­ond game in three days, the trip to Lon­don com­ing barely 48 hours after a stir­ring 2-1 come­back win at home to Mid­dles­brough.

“It’s very dif­fi­cult to play foot­ball in these cir­cum­stances within 48 hours. It’s amaz­ing for the fans around the world, ev­ery­body has the Pre­mier League, I’m more than happy to do that but it’s very hard for the play­ers,” Mour­inho told re­porters.

He again aired his com­plaints that league lead­ers Chelsea have two days more to rest be­fore vis­it­ing Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur, United’s ri­vals for a top-four fin­ish, today.

“We go step-by-step, we try to win our matches. But in re­la­tion to Tot­ten­ham v Chelsea, I hope it’s an amaz­ing match, they are two great teams with the priv­i­lege no­body else has so they are fresh” he added.

Mour­inho’s coun­ter­part at Ar­se­nal, Arsene Wenger agreed say­ing the Pre­mier League’s sell­ing out to TV has made this the most un­even Christ­mas sched­ule ever. The Gun­ners man­ager found it ‘un­be­liev­able’ that his team had to play two games in three days while oth­ers are in more priv­i­leged po­si­tions.

Wenger’s side beat Crys­tal Palace on Sunday af­ter­noon and vis­ited Bournemouth last night.

Pre­mier League ta­ble-top­pers Chelsea, mean­while, are en­joy­ing three days off to rest. They played Stoke at Stam­ford Bridge on Satur­day and don’t travel to Tot­ten­ham un­til tonight.

“In 20 years it is the most un­even Christ­mas pe­riod I’ve seen,” Wenger said. “The dif­fer­ence in rest pe­riod is un­be­liev­able. It’s more we have sold the rights to TV for a lot of money so we have to ac­cept TV chooses the games. But some teams have more luck than oth­ers.”

Mean­while ref­eree Mike Dean harshly sent off West Ham winger Sofi­ane Feghouli in the 15th minute for a chal­lenge on Phil Jones but United needed un­til the 63rd to open the scor­ing through Juan Mata, who con­verted fel­low sub­sti­tute Mar­cus Rash­ford’s cross.

Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic was off­side in scor­ing the sec­ond while United, who got a sev­enth straight win in all com­pe­ti­tions for the first time since 2010/11, were helped by three saves from David de Gea, who de­nied Michail An­to­nio just be­fore Mata scored.

“It’s not just hard for the team with 10 (play­ers) but hard for the team with 11. When you have one more player you also need to think well. My play­ers were too tired to think well, we had lots of bad de­ci­sions” Mour­inho added.

“When you are fresh you play sim­ple, when you are not fresh you play com­pli­cated.

“In the first half ev­ery­thing was com­pli­cated. Only when I brought on fresh peo­ple, Mata, Rash­ford, the team was dif­fer­ent.

“We had width with Rash­ford, an ex­tra player cre­at­ing, and we de­served to win, but I’m go­ing to be hon­est, if An­to­nio scores I don’t think we win.”

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