Manchester United’s pretty hectic April fixture list is well documented, with the Red Devils playing no fewer than nine fixtures throughout the penultimate month of the season. We kicked things off with a tough draw at home to West Brom, then Everton is next up.
With one eye on the schedule, the manager was asked questions by reporters about whether, if at all, he plans to rest his players in some form of rotational system; in order to preserve fitness levels for Europa League glory.
In my opinion, this is something that would make a whole lot of sense, because on paper we’re by far the strongest team in the tournament so we should focus wholly on that. I guess that fact is backed up even more so when you look at the tough games we still have to play domestically.
“Against Everton, we’ll try to play our best team and try to win the match,” said Mourinho to Manchester United’s official website. “After Everton, we go to Sunderland with the same perspective. After Sunderland, comes the Europa League and then I don’t know.
“It’s then possible you see me play in the Premier League with a team where I’m going to protect the players I consider fundamental for the Europa League. But only if the results in the next matches put us in the situation where mathematically it becomes almost impossible to do it [finish in the top four].
“I go with mathematics. Until it’s mathematically impossible, we keep trying and, because this week is a week without the Europa League, we have nothing to think about Europe so this week is easy from the focus point of view.”
“We have to play Everton and Sunderland and these two matches are where we have to go for them. We’re thinking about the Premier League and nothing else. After the match against Sunderland, we have Anderlecht. The quarter-finals of the Europa League are very important for us.”
At the end of the day, Jose Mourinho knows exactly what he is doing, but I definitely believe he has considered completely binning off the Premier League, particularly given the injury situation we find ourselves in.
You’d definitely fancy us to beat Anderlecht over two legs, then at that point, we’d be in the semi-finals where anything can happen. At least now we have both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ander Herrera back from their suspensions, and with Everton at home followed by Sunderland away still to come in the next few days, this next week could be such a vital period.
I’m of the opinion that if we don’t win both of these games, the top four race will probably be a stretch too far for us, so the players have to give their absolute all in these fixtures if we’re to stand a chance at finishing inside the top four.