You would rarely see Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is short of things to complain about. The latest issue which has made him furious is his team’s fixture pile-up between now and the end of the season.
Thursday’s Europa League win over Rostov was actually their 47th match of the season so far, including the Community Shield. Mourinho has already guided his team to the EFL Cup triumph, which forced their league game at Manchester City to be postponed, and they are now in the quarterfinals of the Europa League.
Manchester United were ousted from the FA Cup at Chelsea on Monday after four matches in that competition, but that tie again saw the postponement of their trip to Southampton which, just like the Manchester derby, is yet to be rescheduled. Those games are expected to be played on or around April 26 and May 17, but no dates have yet been confirmed.
While the defeat at Chelsea knocked them out of the FA Cup after four games in that competition, United still have to play 14 matches between now and the end of the season. That number may rise to 17 games if they eventually reach the Europa League final in Stockholm on May 24, that means the April 1 game against West Brom after the international break would kick off a run of 16 games in 54 days, or, in other words, playing once every 3.38 days.
The Premier League has already made it clear there will be no season extension to free up more time for all those games to be fit into the schedule, meaning the away fixtures with City and Southampton both have to be played before Manchester United welcome Crystal Palace on May 21, the final day of the 2016-17 Premier League.
Some are already comparing this crazy fixture pileup with the 1999 run.
Between March 3rd and May 26th, the Red Devils played 20 matches and went unbeaten. That actually averages about a game every 4 days, and they had to play 6 games in 14 days at the start of March, 3 games in 9 days at the start of April, and 4 games in 12 days at the start of May. About the same as what Jose has had to put up with.