Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United will go head to head with Manchester City on Thursday, April 27 after the two clubs decided to stage their re-arranged derby fixture at the Etihad Stadium on a Thursday night.
City had been due to host the 174th Manchester derby on February 26, but United’s EFL Cup final against Southampton at Wembley on the same day saw the Premier League fixture to be postponed.
Man City’s involvement in the FA Cup and Champions League until last week’s exit at the hands of Monaco, along with United’s Europa League games, forced the date of the rearranged fixture in serious doubt.
But as the midweek of April now scheduled for a week without European football, both the cross-city rivals have agreed to play on April 27.
With Manchester City and Arsenal’s FA Cup semifinal scheduled on Sunday, April 23 – the same day when United travel to Burnley for league game – Pep Guardiola will have an extra 24 hours recovery time for his players, securing a Thursday date rather than Wednesday, to conserve the team’s energy against the prospect of extra-time and penalties against the Gunners.
Mourinho has already complained about the fixture pile-up his team will be facing and lack of support from the Premier League to help the club fight for success in the Europa League. United face Belgian league leaders Anderlecht in next month’s quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, the Premier League have insisted there will be no season extension to allow the Red Devils extra time to prepare for their game at Southampton, which was postponed earlier this month due to FA Cup involvements.
If United manage to make it to the Europa League final, they will have to play a further 17 games this season in two months period encouraging Mourinho to claim his club have ‘many enemies’ blocking their way to success.