Suc­cess comes with price says Mour­inho

Evening Telegraph (First Edition) - - Uk World Today -

JOSE Mour­inho be­lieves Manch­ester United will end up “in trou­ble” if they con­tinue to fight on all fronts.

Tonight’s Europa League last-32 first leg against St Eti­enne kicks off a fran­tic 11-day pe­riod as the sec­ond leg in France comes af­ter an FA Cup tie at Black­burn and is fol­lowed by the small mat­ter of the EFL Cup Fi­nal against Southamp­ton.

There will be lit­tle let-up if United emerge vic­to­ri­ous from that run of matches as more fix­tures would leave them with a bloated sched­ule.

Mour­inho be­lieves bal­anc­ing do­mes­tic and Euro­pean ex­er­tions will stretch his squad and ul­ti­mately ham­per their chances of suc­cess — not that he will al­low his side to take their foot off the gas.

“We can­not choose the com­pe­ti­tions at Manch­ester United,” he said.

“We know our sit­u­a­tion is re­ally com­pli­cated. We know the Europa League is also a com­pe­ti­tion where we play on Thurs­days and that makes it even more dif­fi­cult for us.

“The ac­cu­mu­la­tion of FA Cup, League Cup and match post­pone­ments is re­ally hard for us.

“If we progress in the com­pe­ti­tions, we will be in trou­ble in April and May. But we can­not choose com­pe­ti­tions, so we play them to win.

“I think it’s also a good way to give the team ex­pe­ri­ence and in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence is al­ways a plus.

“Europa League is not a com­pe­ti­tion we want to play but it’s a com­pe­ti­tion we play and we re­spect it.”

Mour­inho is des­per­ate to return United to Europe’s top ta­ble but be­lieves Cham­pi­ons League qual­i­fi­ca­tion through the league will be harder to se­cure than for oth­ers as cup progress will “create many, many prob­lems”.

“We know it’s go­ing to be very dif­fi­cult,” the United boss said, with just four points sep­a­rat­ing his side and sec­ond-placed Manch­ester City.

“We know ob­vi­ously it can have an im­pact in the Premier League be­cause we are com­pet­ing against teams in other cir­cum­stances.

“For ex­am­ple, Liver­pool play only in the Premier League, Chelsea in the Premier League and the FA Cup. We have still Tot­ten­ham in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion as us but we want to progress. That’s the point.”

Tonight’s match against Les Verts pits the world’s most ex­pen­sive player Paul Pogba against his older brother Florentin, leav­ing their fam­ily hop­ing for a draw.

“We spoke in a good way, a funny way,” Mour­inho said of Paul. “I think it is a good, nice des­tiny.

“I think only mum Pogba is a lit­tle bit in trou­ble, which is nor­mal. It’s dif­fi­cult for the lady to choose — it’s not dif­fi­cult, it’s im­pos­si­ble!

“I know from Paul that the mum wants a draw.”

Manch­ester United’s Paul Pogba (right) and goal­keeper David De Gea train ahead of tonight’s Europa League tie against St Eti­enne.

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