United to beat Rostov easily tonight.
José Mourinho blames Paul Pogba injury on crowded fixture schedule
Frustrated United manager says fatigue is beginning to affect his players
Tiredness means ‘we will probably lose at Middlesbrough now’
José Mourinho hit out at English fixture scheduling after losing Paul Pogba to a hamstring injury in the Europa League victory over Rostov.
Manchester United’s France international is likely to be out for three weeks, and thus unable to play at Middlesbrough on Sunday or link up with his national team in the upcoming international break. Mourinho believes the injury was a result of fatigue. Marcos Rojo was so energy depleted during the game that he called for a banana to be brought on to the pitch.
“We have lots of enemies,” Mourinho said. “Normally it would just be Rostov but we have a lot more.
“It is difficult to play Monday with 10 men, it is difficult to play now, it is difficult to play at 12 o’clock on a Sunday. We will probably lose at Middlesbrough now. Fatigue has a price.”.........................
Mourinho also said he did not believe it was possible to restore United to the level of dominance they enjoyed under Sir Alex Ferguson.
“Forget it,’ he said. “Don’t try to go 10, 20 years ago because it is not possible any more. We are not ready to dominate. We are ready to fight for every game but we are not ready to try and win everything.”.................
Fatigue setting in was the result of too many games played within a short period of time. Let's face it, we didn't have the depth in the first place to pursue all 4 competition. We were foolish to field the first team for the Mickey Mouse Cup. Prioritizing just wasn't there. All you need to do is look at the bench and you'll find fluffy feather weights sitting on them.
The trip to Rostov took its toll on the players but upon closer examination it probably set in long before the Rostov game. What now?Play the fringe players and if you need to tap on the under 23 players. Well, at least it will buy some of the senior players 2-3 weeks of rest.
It's strange that Mourinho made such comments. It's not his first season in English Football
Granted he wants to divert attention from his team but try something else like blame the refrees or the oppo players. He has other midfield talents - Lingard n periera. Time to use them.
Pereira is on loan to spanish league outfit Granada and I don't think they can recall the player at this stage of the season.
There are untested youth players available. If we are going to lose, it really doesn't matter who Mou plays or for that matter what the relegation threatened teams says. Mou would risk further injuries if the same set of players show up tomorrow at noon.
Bets tomorrow, how?
Middlesbrough's caretaker boss Steve Agnew may have Bernardo Espinosa and Rudy Gestede available after injuries.
Adlene Guedioura returns after being cup-tied, but Daniel Ayala, Calum Chambers and George Friend are out.
Paul Pogba misses out for Manchester United because of a hamstring strain, while Daley Blind received a blow to the head against Rostov and is a doubt.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ander Herrera are suspended, but Wayne Rooney, Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial could be fit.
MOTD COMMENTATOR'S NOTES
Guy Mowbray: "With Jose Mourinho stressing that United have 'lots of enemies' this week, it might have been nice for him to catch up with a friend.
"Aitor Karanka's dismissal from Middlesbrough means he'll be one down on that score at the Riverside, with Boro's inability TO score one of the reasons for Mourinho's former assistant going.
"His successor faces a conundrum. Changes are usually made to make a relegation-threatened team harder to beat - something not usually associated with becoming more cavalier.
"Looking at their next fixtures though, caretaker Steve Agnew might as well send a team out to have a free hit against fatigued United - whilst taking Mourinho's 'probably lose' comments with a cellar full of salt."
WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY
Middlesbrough's caretaker boss Steve Agnew: "I have to be honest, [Thursday] was a really difficult and emotional day.
"Aitor Karanka put in incredible work over the last three and a half years. I really enjoyed his work and his company during my two and a half years working with him.
"But today the players have trained well and we look forward to the weekend."
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho on his side's fixture congestion: "I don't think it's a funny situation. When I watch marathons and people go to their limit, I don't think it is funny, and I don't think it's funny some of my players in six weeks play 11 matches.
"Play on Monday with 10 men, enjoying five hours the M6 coming back to Manchester. People can ask why was (Phil) Jones playing on the left with so many difficulties. He was playing on the left because he could run and Marcos (Rojo) couldn't run.
"We are living all these things and let's see if Sunday we get a point. That would be great result."
I think we might see Middlesbrough play with a bit more freedom now Aitor Karanka has gone, which was one of the criticisms he faced.
I would not be surprised if Boro get something from Manchester United on Sunday.
Lawro's full predictions v boxer Anthony Crolla
- Think you can do better than Lawro? Predict the score for this match and the rest of this round's Premier League fixtures in our Predictor game
- Manchester United are unbeaten in eight league meetings since a 4-1 defeat on Teesside in October 2005 (W5, D3).
- Middlesbrough have gone 12 matches without a win against United in all competitions, although they did knock the Red Devils out of the League Cup in a penalty shootout last season.
- United have scored in each of their last 14 away league games against Middlesbrough, their longest current streak against another club.
- Boro are winless in 10 league games since Christmas, failing to score in seven of them. A draw or defeat on Saturday would ensure they equal the longest run without victory in the Premier League this season, set by Swansea.
- Middlesbrough's next defeat will be their 1000th in the top flight.
- Their tallies of four wins and 19 goals scored this season are the worst in the division. They have failed to score in 13 of their 27 matches, more than any other side.
- However, only four clubs have conceded fewer goals than Middlesbrough.
- Manchester United's current 17-match unbeaten run is the longest in the Premier League this season.
- They share the division's best defensive away record with Chelsea, conceding just 12 goals. United have only let in four goals in their last seven away games.
- United's next win will be their 600th in the Premier League, becoming the first side to reach that landmark.
- Jose Mourinho' side average 6.3 goals attempts on target per game this season, the most in the division. Middlesbrough's average per game of 2.4 is the lowest.
- The suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic accounts for nearly a quarter of Manchester United's attempts on goal in the Premier League this season (109 - 24.3%).
- Antonio Valencia could make his 200th Premier League appearance.
SAM's verdict Most probable score: 0-0 Probability of draw: 37% Probability of home win: 19% Probability of away win: 44%
SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by @ProfIanMcHale at the University of Salford that is used to predict the outcome of football matches.
Thank you Valdez!!!United fans LOVE you......
Before the 90 mins was up, we had the most number of defenders fielded in a single match in our Premiere league history. Amazing!!!!
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