Jose Mourinho Rips Fixture List, Says He Lacks 'Friends in the Right Chairs'

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2018

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01:  Jose Mourinho, Manager of Manchester United gestures from the sideline during the Premier League match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park on January 1, 2018 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images

Jose Mourinho told beIN Sports (h/t ESPN FC's Rob Dawson) his Manchester United squad had to endure the most demanding set of fixtures during the Premier League's notoriously hectic festive period:

"You television companies make the decisions and we have to accept. I believe you make the decisions but I also believe that some clubs, or some managers, have good friends in the right chairs and I don't have them."

Dawson examined Mourinho's case and revealed: "United played four games in 215 hours over Christmas and New Year, three of which ended in draws. It is in contrast to Manchester City, who play Watford on Tuesday, who were given almost 247 hours between the first and last of their four festive fixtures."

United dropped points against Leicester City, Burnley and Southampton before beating Everton 2-0 at Goodison Park on New Year's Day.

While there may be some credence to Mourinho's complaints, it's unclear to whom he's referring when he mentions managers with friends in high places. However, the Guardian's Sid Lowe, who covers La Liga, was less than impressed and offered this snap as a counter:

A picture with FIFA President Gianni Infantino aside, Mourinho is not the first manager to bemoan the logjam of matches played over Christmas and surrounding the turn of a new year in England's top flight.

Arsenal chief Arsene Wenger lamented the schedule after his side's 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion on New Year's Eve, per Goal's Stephen Darwin: "We have the same problem again against Chelsea. They played yesterday [Saturday], we play on Wednesday. They have one day more [rest] again."

Meanwhile, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola had even stronger words after watching the Premier League leaders draw 0-0 at Crystal Palace on the same day, per BBC Sport: "If you tell me that technically, physically it's good for the players: No, it's a disaster."

Wenger and Guardiola have also taken aim at the schedule over Christmas.
Wenger and Guardiola have also taken aim at the schedule over Christmas.Getty Images/Getty Images

This is a rare issue all top managers seem to agree on. However, while Mourinho may have a legitimate gripe, he is making a habit of offering explanations outside of his control for United's struggles.

Earlier this month, he suggested a lack of money was the reason his side trails neighbours City by 12 points, despite spending more than £300 million since he took over.

He also bemoaned injuries in his notes for a recent pre-match programme, according to BBC Sport's Simon Stone:

Blaming outside forces can create a siege mentality within a squad, but Mourinho is in danger of looking more like a manager who's hiding behind excuses if United's results don't improve.

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