Mourinho Says Ajax Shouldn’t Even Be In Europa League
Manchester United will be going to Stockholm for the May 24 Europa League final against Ajax Amsterdam but the Red Devils must play their final Premier League match of the season on Sunday (May 21).
Manager Jose Mourinho told reporters in Manchester on Friday that he rated Ajax highly but he disagreed with them even being able to take part in the Europa League, let alone reach the final.
He said he was in favour of the Europa League being for teams which were contesting the tournament from the start, not teams that attempted to qualify for the Champions League and were excluded in the play-off stage.
“They’re a Champions League team, they come from the Champions League. I always disagree with it. I think a team shouldn’t play two European competitions in the same season.
“I think if a team goes to the Champions League and then doesn’t qualify, should go home, shouldn’t have the opportunity to go and play Europa League. I think Europa League competition is for teams that go to the Europa League in the beginning like us,” he said.
Mourinho said he was not focused on Wednesday’s final yet, concentrating on the Premier League match against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford, and working to get a win.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is out for an estimated nine months after damaging knee ligaments at the team’s Europa League quarter-final match against Anderlecht but Mourinho said the Swede would be in Stockholm for the final with the rest of the squad, on crutches or not.
“Everybody goes; we have a few in crutches, but everybody goes. Fantastic group of players, fantastic spirit since the beginning of the season. Difficult run, lots of matches,” he said.
“We spent more time travelling, playing, with hotels than at home because 60 matches, 60-something matches, means 140 days in hotels so half the year we spend together.”