Jose bids Young farewell and hits out at 'nonsense' fixture list
Jose Mourinho expects Ashley Young to be the third player to leave Manchester United in the January transfer window - but made it clear Bastian Schweinsteiger would be staying put following his man-of-match performance against Wigan yesterday.
The United manager also gave no reassurances about Wayne Rooney's future at Old Trafford. Mourinho was specifically asked about Rooney, who is coveted by several Chinese clubs, but said the only player who would be leaving before January 31 was Young.
"Ashley is a player I would love to keep. I am not happy he is leaving," said Mourinho, although since Young last started a Premier League fixture on November 6, he has long been surplus to his manager's requirements. He has been linked with moves to Everton, West Bromwich Albion, West Ham and Watford - as well as China.
Interestingly, on the day Sir Bobby Charlton presented Rooney with a golden boot to mark the passing of his goalscoring record, Mourinho did not give any indication that he wanted his captain to stay.
He was, however, effusive about Bastian Schweinsteiger, who scored Manchester United's final goal against Wigan - his first start in more than a year.
"Yes, he is staying," said Mourinho of Schweinsteiger. "He is going on to the Europa League list because, with the sale of Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin, there are spaces open.
"I think he is happy now and he was a good professional when he was not playing."
That Schweinsteiger has stayed owes as much to the inability of the club to find anyone who will match his wages of £200,000 a week as to his professionalism. However, the climax to Manchester United's season will be an exhausting one and Mourinho lashed out at the way the English fixture list was compiled.
"We are in four competitions but the Premier League is almost an impossible mission," he said.
"In the League Cup we have a 50 per cent chance of winning it and in the FA Cup we are in the last 16 and in the Europa League in the last 32, so there are lots of matches to play.
"Southampton will have 15 days without football before the League Cup final. We are going to play two matches against St Etienne and in the next round of the FA Cup. The calendar in the best country in world football is nonsense."