Fixtures hurt United – Mourinho

Manchester United

Jose Mourinho believes Manchester United have been "really punished" by the fixture scheduling this Christmas.

As if denting Manchester City’s 11-point lead at the Premier League summit was not hard enough, Saturday’s trip to Leicester kicks off a run of four top-flight games in 10 days.

United highlighted their “fixture frenzy” by publishing research on their website showing that “United have a harder time of it than our rivals towards the top of the table”.

Recovery and rotation will be crucial if the festive period is be fruitful, but Mourinho is concerned about the impact it will have on his team.

“We are not the only ones,” he said. “There are other teams in the same situation as we are and Leicester is one of them in the same situation as we are.

“We did the simple objective study on that and there is a big gap – a really big gap – between some clubs and other clubs.

“There are clearly the ones that are really privileged, there are clearly another group of the ones that are really punished by the decisions of the calendar and there are another group in the middle of it where I would like to be.”

Mourinho laughed then added: “I know that I would never be in the top group but in that middle group we would like to be.”

Put to him he cannot believe that is deliberate, Mourinho said: “It’s a good question. You want me to be punished again, right?”

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