Getty Images

View from Europe: Does Jose Mourinho have a point about fixture pile-up damaging Euro chances?

View from Europe: Does Mourinho have a point about fixture pile-up damaging Euro chances?

20/05/2017 at 15:28

We asked our correspondents around the other major leagues in Europe whether the teams in their top divisions struggle, as Jose Mourinho claims Manchester United have, with fixture congestion...

So, does he have a point?

Spain - Jorge Ordas

Does La Liga assist teams in European competition by rescheduling fixtures to give them more time to prepare?

No, never. The Liga is a complete disaster for scheduling. For example, Celta-Real Madrid played yesterday the match was a real problem because both sides reached the latter stages of European competition and there was not any easy date to play the game. Champions League teams usually play on Saturday but, for example, Atletico did not play on the Friday before facing Rostov (5 hours travel) and sometimes they were in action on Sunday at mid-day despite the European game coming onTuesday.

Are the fixtures on the final day of the season played at the same time, even if there is nothing to play for?

Games with teams that are ‘playing for something’ kick off at the same time. For example, Real and Barcelona games will be at the same time on Sunday, but not at the same time as teams which is fighting for European positions. There is not problem with relegated teams this season because three teams are already mathematically relegated.

Do United - and English teams in general - have to play an unreasonable amount of fixtures?

It will be always a problem. For example, in Spain, there has been a lot of controversy because Celta Vigo – who didn’t fight for relegation or European positions – have been playing with substitutes for 5/6 games to help with rest for Europa League players and suddenly they played with his best players against Real Madrid.

Video - Euro Papers: Barcelona to snatch Bellerin if Arsenal miss out on fourth

01:57

Germany - Florian Bogner

Does the Bundesliga assist teams in European competition by rescheduling fixtures to give them more time to prepare?

It’s easy in Germany: Teams which play in the Europa League also play on Sundays (there have always been exactly 2 Sunday games for many years now). Only a few exceptions have taken place in the last few years – but then it mostly was home game on Thursdays and home game on Saturdays.

The schedule of who plays Fri/Sat/Sun is also only decided after international cup matches for some (6 to 8) matchdays in advance. There will be a change of that for next season: on 5 occasions there will be an additional third Sunday match (1.30 pm, will be aired by Eurosport in Germany!) and on 5 other occasions there will be a Monday night match (8.30 pm, also Eurosport!).

This mostly will benefit the international teams, but not just them. What has never happened in Germany is reacting to fixtures, teh authorities have never said: “Oh look, Bayern play Real Madrid on a Tuesday, so let’s switch them to a Friday to benefit them”. Once a schedule is official, it’s almost never changed.

Are the fixtures on the final day of the season played at the same time, even if there is nothing to play for?

Yep, on matchday 33 and 34 every single game of the Bundesliga is scheduled for 3.30 pm.

Do United - and English teams in general - have to play an unreasonable amount of fixtures?

Another advantage of the Bundesliga is the winter break from before Christmas to mid January (3-4 weeks). It gives the teams the chance to rest, reset, and integrate winter signings. Also, the German Cup competition only has 6 games at the most – and there is only ONE cup competition.

David Alaba (FC Bayern München)

David Alaba (FC Bayern München)Getty Images

So yes, English teams hurt themselves by playing too much; especially when it comes to the knockout stage in February/March - it can’t help to play 9 games in January. As an example: Marcus Rashford played 59 games from start of this season (53 for United, 6 for national teams) – that’s an heavy load for a 19-year-old guy, but they are not top of Europe. Players like Antoine Griezmann (62), Bernardo Silva (62), Koke (61), Yannick Ferreira Carrasco (61), and Joao Moutinho (60) played even more. But in Germany, David Alaba is the most played – 53 games (including for Austria).

So my personal opinion is: yes, English clubs play too much, but the schedule is a known fact and can be overcome by smart managing of the roster. In Germany maybe 23 players in a squad is enough – Bayern only featured 22 different players in Bundesliga this year. At an English team you maybe need 26 till 28.

Italy - Mattia Fontana

Does Serie A assist teams in European competition by rescheduling fixtures to give them more time to prepare?

Yes, they do but only let the teams play on Friday if they are going to play on Tuesday in the Champions League or Monday night if they played on Europa League on Thursday.

Are the fixtures on the final day of the season played at the same time, even if there is nothing to play for?

They are played at the same time in terms of goals. Example: at the moment last Serie A matchday will be played all on Sunday night at 8:45 PM. But it’s likely that they will change it next Monday and they will let Roma and Napoli play at the same time because they are competing for the second place, but also Crotone, Genoa and Empoli because they are all involved in the relegation battle.

Do United - and English teams in general - have to play an unreasonable amount of fixtures?

It’s not a Manchester United problem, it’s a Premier League problem. Considering you also have an important League Cup (we don’t, we just have a National Cup that becomes important at the semi-final…) and the most important National Cup in the world. It’s a problem that affects also your national team, too, in my opinion.

0
0