Jose Mourinho: 'Ajax Should not Even be in the Europa League'

Jose Mourinho has stoked the fires in the build-up to Manchester United’s Europa League final against Ajax on Wednesday by claiming the Dutch club should not be in the competition.

Ajax dropped into the Europa League after losing their two-legged Champions League play-off against FC Rostov 5-2 on aggregate in August.

But Mourinho believes teams should be allowed to play in only one European competition per season and is against Champions League failures being parachuted into the Europa League at the group stage or Round of 32.
Jose Mourinho

“They are a Champions League team, they come from the Champions League,” the United manager said. “I always disagree with it. I don’t think a team should play two European competitions in a season.

“If you don’t quality [for the Champions League] I think they should go home. We finish fifth [in the Premier League] last year. We went into the Europa League. We started the Europa League from beginning of season and we have to fight to get where we are.”

“No chance,” Mourinho said when asked if his constant complaints about tiredness could play on the minds of the players. “On Tuesday when we put foot in that plane we think just about one thing.”

United’s injured players, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo, will all be present in Stockholm. “Everybody goes,” Mourinho said.

“We have a few on crutches but everybody goes. It’s a fantastic group of players, fantastic spirit, a difficult run, lots of matches, we spent more time travelling than plying, with hotels than at home. Sixty something matches means 140 days in hotels so half of the season we spent together and that is only possible if the spirit is fantastic. Crutches, for Rojo, for Zlatan, young players, but we all go together.”

Mourinho said his biggest doubt for the final centred over the fitness of Marouane Fellaini. The Belgium midfielder was substituted because of a hamstring injury during the goalless draw at Southampton on Wednesday and Mourinho said he would be scanned on Friday in order to determine the full extent of the problem.

Mourinho also said Chris Smalling was suffering from a minor injury that would rule him out of Sunday’s final Premier League game at home against Crystal Palace but was hopeful the England centre-half would be fit for Stockholm.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah will play against Palace after recovering sooner than expected from a shoulder injury and could be a surprise inclusion against Ajax if he emerges unscathed on Sunday.

“Marouane is the question mark, we await today for the scans,” Mourinho said. “We decided not to do them yesterday. Again his feelings are not bad but let’s wait.

“Smalling has a problem but a small problem that I think will be no problem at all for next week. A problem for the weekend but not the final.

“Timothy Fosu-Mensah, he plays Sunday and if the reaction is good and he manages to play the game without problems, he’s a new option for us for the final.”

Paul Pogba has missed United’s past three matches following the death of his father and was in France this week to attend the funeral. But Mourinho said the France midfielder would start against Palace because he needs the game time after an extended absence. - Online Sources

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