Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho feels that his former club Chelsea’s Champions League absence has handed them a big advantage ahead of their FA Cup quarter-final clash. Mourinho, however, has praised Antonio Conte for devising a tactic which is suited to the skills of his players.
"The most difficult thing to have is time to work, and they have time to work. I know that he said a couple of days ago or a couple of weeks ago that it's not his fault that they are not in the European competitions," he was quoted as saying by ESPN.
"It's my fault and the players' fault, but the reality is that he got in his hands a situation where they have time to work, time to rest, time to relax, time to disconnect, time to travel, time to have holidays, time to go to America and enjoy America for a couple of days.
"They have time for all of these things, so they are in a position of privilege -- the same privilege that Liverpool had a couple of years ago and they almost won the Premier League -- but I don't want to say that they don't deserve credit for it."
Mourinho team made a 3750-mile round-trip to face Russian side Rostov in the Europa League.
Mourinho, who left Chelsea
"They choose a certain style of play that I think is very adapted to the qualities of these players. They defend a lot and well, and they counter-attack and kill opponents on the counter-attack similar to my Chelsea," he said.
"But the difference is they play with five at the back and I played four at the back, but the same criteria: a very strong team to defend and a team that kills on the counter-attack, and they are doing very, very well and that is why they are going to be champions easily.''
Beating his former club at his old hunting ground must provide extra incentive to Mourinho ahead of this fixture. However, the Portuguese
"I am not asking for any credit, I am not asking for that. I am focused on Man United and I know the work I did there, I know what I did but I am the kind of guy that I move and have no regrets and I am not looking for bad feelings at all.
"I have some friends there, who before the game great, after the game great, during the game it's just another game for me.
"Am I sadder to lose against Chelsea than against another team? No. Am I happier to win against Chelsea than another team? No.
"The FA Cup isn't so the Europa League is more important than the FA Cup for us,'' Mourinho explained.
Despite winning the League Cup this season, United have failed to make their mark