According to Mourinho, Man United have had 13 players playing for their countries while West Brom have only had one. For the former Chelsea gaffer, this means the Baggies have a distinct edge in terms of fitness ahead of Saturday.
“If you compare our situation with our opponents – West Bromwich Albion only had one player on international duty,” Mourinho claimed to Sky Sports.
“They had time to work, time to rest and prepare. It is going to be hard.”
It’s embarrassing just how wrong the Portuguese is about this, because while the Red Devils had more players on international duty, it’s not by that much.
Salomon Rondon played Venezuela, Jake Livermore for England, and James McClean for the Republic of Ireland. Jonny Evans, Gareth McAuley and Chris Brunt all played for Northern Ireland.
Hal-Robson Kanu turned out for Wales as did James Morrison and Darren Fletcher for Scotland. Nacer Chadli labored for Belgium against Greece.
That means 10 Baggies’ men represented their countries, and practically all of them happen to be crucial first-teamers.
The United boss went on to conclude his rant by attempting to explain the pointlessness of international friendlies.
“I am totally against the friendly matches,” he added. “I think friendly matches for the national team only make sense before the final phases.
“But mid-season friendly matches mixed with qualification matches, I don’t think that makes sense.”
In a way, and as ever, some of Mourinho’s complaints make sense. Man United have had a grueling schedule this season, and the fact that many of their players are key for their countries complicates things.
But this is exactly what one should expect when managing a club like Man United and he knew it before he signed on the dotted line.
It is a club that is always going to compete for honors on multiple fronts, and the best players only join to have this possibility. These players are also going to get capped by their countries because, let’s face it, they are some of the best in the world.
Mourinho was handed the transfer kitty he needed to build the squad he wanted during the summer window. He himself admitted his club had gotten all the players he had wanted, and praised the management.
Most of all, Mourinho would do well to research the simple facts before making a claim like the one he made about West Brom. Help us to take you seriously, Mr. Special One!