19 May, 2017
United are 1-0 up ahead of the home leg of their Europa League semi-final against Celta Vigo on Thursday and with victory in the tournament yielding a Champions League slot, Mourinho says his choices were entirely rational.
The summer signing has been something of a Europa League specialist for Manchester United so far this season and will be hoping to help his team reach the final in Stockholm. When we lost these players in a period of 17 matches in seven weeks, it was the impossible job. It was not a gamble, it was a simple decision based on common sense.
"The situation is simple: 17 matches in seven weeks, with 16 players, is impossible", Mourinho said.
"We lost four players in one week, when we lost [Chris] Smalling and [Phil] Jones in the [England] national team and [Marcos] Rojo and Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] against Anderlecht" in the previous round of the Europa League.
"We'll respect who is left in the competition - it's not going to be easy and we're not taking anything for granted at all - but that's got to be the aim". It was not a gamble, but a outcome of our situation. Seventeen matches in seven weeks, April and May.
United have progressed through from their last four major European semi-finals and punters may choose to use their free bet to back Jose Mourinho's men to secure their passage once again on Thursday.
"For Celta, it's - in their words - the most important match of their history", he said. "My feelings, it's also the most important match of our history".
Wayne Rooney wants to stay at Manchester United, even if the lack of game-time is grating on the club's all-time top scorer.
"I think [Wayne] Rooney, [Michael] Carrick, [Ashley] Young are this group of English boys with a long time in the club [to have won titles] plus Mata [as part of another club] but most have not done it before. I don't think it's consistent, the atmosphere, the enthusiasm", he said.
"Against Chelsea they wanted to play from the first minute to the last. He's like us - we all want to win and we all want to lift trophies".
"I see a difference between games", Mourinho told a news conference. "Anderlecht it was not warm enough".
"We are in this situation now and we have to fight for it, so let's see if tomorrow we can do it and if we can go to the final".
"In this moment we don't think about Champions League, we think about a title, we think about the possibility of playing the European Super Cup in August against a big club", he added.