Fixture overload to test Mourinho 'serenity' claim

LONDON • Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, who has complained that his players are on the verge of breakdown because of fatigue, will play nine games next month after the Premier League chose April 27 as the date for the rearranged Manchester derby.

The match was due to take place on Feb 26 but had to be rescheduled after United progressed to the League Cup final, where they beat Southampton 3-2.

United will play twice a week throughout next month, meaning they will have to endure nine games in 30 days.

Included in that run of fixtures are a Europa League quarter-final tie over two legs against Anderlecht and league games against Everton and Chelsea.

United also have to play West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City at home, and travel to Sunderland and Burnley.

In May, United have to play Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal away while their postponed trip to Southampton looks set to be rescheduled for the final midweek of the season if they beat Anderlecht to make the last four of the Europa League.

Should United progress to the Europa League final on May 24, they will play 16 games in 54 days after the international break - an average of almost one game every three days.

  • MAN UNITED'S NINE GAMES IN APRIL

  • APRIL 1 Premier League: West Brom (h)

    APRIL 4 Premier League: Everton (h)

    APRIL 9 Premier League: Sunderland (a) APRIL 13 Europa League quarter-final, 1st leg: Anderlecht (a)

    APRIL 16 Premier League: Chelsea (h)

    APRIL 20 Europa League quarter-final, 2nd leg: Anderlecht (h)

    APRIL 23 Premier League: Burnley (a)

    APRIL 27 Premier League: Man City (a)

    APRIL 30 Premier League: Swansea (h)

Mourinho last week claimed that fixture planners do not give a "s***" about how English teams fare in Europe. His anger is at odds with a suggestion he made in an interview with France Football on Monday that he had become much calmer in recent years.

"I have matured, I am more peaceful," he said. "A victory no longer represents the moon, and a defeat hell. And I believe that I am able to transmit this serenity to those who work with me."

The situation with out-of-favour Bastian Schweinsteiger, however, has not found a peaceful solution.

The former Germany captain has signed for Major League Soccer side the Chicago Fire, according to the Chicago Tribune and United's official website (www.manutd.com).

The 32-year-old could finalise his move to the United States by next week pending a visa application, the Tribune reported on its website.

It is believed that Schweinsteiger has signed a one-year deal worth US$4.5 million (S$6.28 million).

THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2017, with the headline 'Fixture overload to test Mourinho 'serenity' claim'. Print Edition | Subscribe