Zorya Luhansk vs. Manchester United: Jose Mourinho’s Pre-Match Presser Quotes
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has criticised UEFA, European entertainment news kenya 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 Red Devils face Zoryawho cannot qualify from Group Aat theChornomorets Stadium in Odessa, and Mourinho questioned UEFA’s decision to hold such a frosty fixture in December, per theMirror’s Joe Mewis:
The pitch is hard, the pitch is icy.
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. They are trying, they are putting some warmth on top of it, but people cannot make miracles, so lets hope everything goes well.
Mourinho also took umbrage with the Premier League 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.
The conditions of the playing surface have led to concerns Thursday’s clash could be postponed in the event it poses too much of a danger to the players, with Mourinho’s men second in Group A and a point behind leaders Fenerbahce.
The Turkish leaders travel to third-placed Feyenoord, who also stand a chance of topping the pool, currently three points behind Fener, and Mourinho spoke of a “crucial match” in Odessa, via the club’s official Twitter account:
Jose Mourinho on Thursday’s @EuropaLeague meeting with Zorya… #MUFC https://t.co/2dzIZzXBpc
Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 7, 2016
The Europa League remains of high value to the Portuguese tactician, despite some suggestions it’s a secondary concern for the Premier League outfit, and Mourinho added his team “want to win” the tournament.
United have suffered back-to-back away defeats in their Europa League pool this season, most recently dropping 2-1 at Fenerbahce in November, and Mourinho posed that a third away loss could be damning:
I only can speak about my matches here and we lost Feyenoord which we should have won.
In Fenerbahce another difficult place to go we conceded in the first minute which gave them the best conditions to win.
If we want to qualify then we cannot lose three matches away. We need points tomorrow.
Among those who failed to travel with the squad to Odessa areMichael 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, although Samuel Luckhurst of theManchester Evening News came to a different conclusion in some cases:
Mourinho said he left behind players to ‘protect’ them. Some protected for Spurs, others from injury before they likely leave. #mufc
Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) December 7, 2016
A win over Zorya on Thursday would guarantee the Red Devils a place in the Europa League round of 32, and the English titans could top Group A if Fenerbahce fail to take three points in their trip to the Netherlands.
Zorya may already be consigned to exit the European competition, but Mourinho isn’t treating Thursday’s opponentsor the tough climatelightly.