Manchester United’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho/ AFP PHOTO / STR
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho claims the festive fixture schedule heavily favours his former club Chelsea, but believes there is no point approaching the Premier League to complain.
Mourinho was shocked to discover that Antonio Conte’s Premier League leaders will play their three seasonal games over 10 days, compared to eight days for United and Arsenal and seven for Liverpool.
Chelsea already benefit from not being involved in European football and Mourinho feels their kinder Christmas schedule gives them an additional advantage.
“Why? I don’t know either,” Mourinho said when asked if he could explain the inconsistency.
“I’m not speaking about Chelsea; it happened the same with Liverpool a couple of years ago and this year too. (But) a team not playing in European competitions has a big advantage for sure.
“If on top of that when there is a first possibility of congestion with fixtures, if in that period they don’t have it, obviously it makes a difference.
“You don’t need to be a scientist to understand that to play with one day’s rest is different to playing with four days’ rest. It’s completely different.
“For me, the point is why? But over the years nobody really answered me because I had this also when I was in Chelsea.”
Mourinho was also pressed as to whether he, or United, have made representation to the Premier League over what appears to be a significant advantage for Conte’s in-form side.
– Wenger let-off ‘not surprising’ –
“No. They do what they want,” said Mourinho, ahead of his side’s Boxing Day clash with Sunderland.
“They will give excuses — that TV, they have their choice. So it’s not the Premier League, it’s Sky, it’s BT.
“They want a certain club to play this day and for a club to play that day. There are always reasons.
“I prefer not to lose my time with that. I prefer to get what I get and to try to work the team in that direction. OK. And we have to do it. We have to do it. We’re going to do it.”
Mourinho was perhaps mindful of the fact that he has appeared before the Football Association’s disciplinary powers three times already this season.
He may have been keen to avoid a fourth such appearance by being openly critical of the Premier League’s handling of the schedule.
Mourinho was also diplomatic when comparing his treatment this season with that of Wenger, who escaped punishment despite criticising the match officials following his side’s 2-1 defeat at Manchester City.
“I’m not surprised. I can’t say more than that,” said Mourinho.
“But I’m not surprised. When I read his quotes I felt there would be no problem … for him.
“No, it doesn’t irritate me because I’m not happy with the problems others have.
“Some people, not just in football but in life, it looks like they are happy, not with the things they get, but happy with bad things others get.
“I’m not like that. I’m not happy other people are in trouble or have problems. I’m just unhappy when I have them. That’s it.”