Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho slammed the timing of his side’s FA Cup quarterfinal match against Chelsea, but said he wouldn’t disrespect the competition by fielding a weaker side the way Manchester City did last season under Manuel Pellegrini.
United beat St Etienne 1-0 in their Europa League round-of-32 second leg on Wednesday to advance, which means Mourinho’s team will be forced to play a round-of-16 leg either side of their FA Cup clash with Chelsea on Monday, March 13.
That busy week could become even more complicated if United are forced to travel a long distance in the Europa League, leaving Mourinho perplexed as to why the timing of the FA Cup match was announced before Friday’s Europa League draw.
Asked if he was worried the FA Cup scheduling would hinder his chances of progress, Mourinho said: “Of course and I feel really surprised that the decision is made before our draw in Europe.
“Because in this moment nobody knows where we play, nobody knows where the first and second matches are.
“Imagine we play Chelsea on Monday and then we have to go to the second match in Europe in Russia, Turkey or Greece.
“I think once more the interests, they go in front of the clubs and English football’s interests, and nobody cares about it. But this is what I have.”
Mourinho also took a swipe at rivals Manchester City after their much-changed side last season lost 5-1 at Chelsea in the FA Cup.
“I cannot play against Chelsea with the second team,” he said. “I cannot play against Chelsea with the under-21s like Manchester City did last year. I cannot do that — we are Manchester United.
“I don’t do that as Manchester United manager. I don’t do that to the FA Cup because the FA Cup is not guilty of these decisions.
“The FA Cup is beautiful, the competition is historical. I have to treat Manchester United supporters and the FA Cup in the right way. I cannot go there with U-21s. Probably they would deserve it, but I don’t do that, so what is going to happen is an accumulation of matches.
“People playing a lot of matches, I have to make some rotation but some of the boys will have to play in all these consecutive matches.”