Mourinho frustrated that Man United's league finale not moved to Saturday
Jose Mourinho has criticised the Premier League for not moving Manchester United's final game of the domestic season to give them more preparation time for next week's Europa League final against Ajax.
The manager has made little secret of the fact his priority has long been next Wednesday's fixture, which after the EFL Cup could secure their second major trophy of the season and qualification for next season's Champions League.
He again fielded an under-strength XI in Wednesday's 0-0 draw at Southampton, omitting Marcus Rashford, Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera, Paul Pogba and David De Gea, as goalkeeper Sergio Romero's performance earned them a draw.
Mourinho insists the fact United will finish sixth regardless of the outcome of Sunday's visit of Crystal Palace and that their visitors are also safe from relegation, with three teams already down, means they should instead be playing on Saturday.
He also said he had made no attempt to request a change in date because he is convinced it would be rejected, adding "I hope you don't kill me when you see my team.
"In any country in the world the match would be Saturday, because Sunday we are sixth, doesn't matter what, and Crystal Palace are safe,'' said Mourinho. "So after the moment Palace beat Hull and Hull are relegated, and Swansea is safe, in that moment the match has to be Saturday, in any country in the world it would be Saturday. [But] it's going to be Sunday.
"It's frustrating for me. I hope you don't kill me when you see my team. I don't lose time [requesting a switch I don't believe they would grant]. When I know the battle is lost I don't fight.
"The next match Joel [Pereira, United's 20-year-old third choice goalkeeper] is playing his first match in the Premier League.
"I'm here [in English football] already seven years; I never saw any detail of trying to care about the English teams involved in European competitions. I never saw. It's just a lost battle; we have to accept the way it is.
"I hope the fans on Sunday support the team, they forgive some naivety, they forgive some lack of confidence and I hope Big Sam [Allardyce, Palace's manager] shows he's a good friend and he goes slow. Tells [Wilfried] Zaha to go slow, leaves (Christian) Benteke at home; I hope he goes soft on us.''
Mourinho dismissed injury concerns surrounding Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata, despite the former having a "a bad feeling in the hamstring.''
Romero insisted after his star turn that the Europa League final in Stockholm is the club's biggest match of the season.
"A clean sheet is good for us -- for defenders, for me and for the team,'' Romero said. "I think for us it [the final] is the most important of the year. For this club we need the trophy.''
Southampton struggled to relieve the pressure building on manager Claude Puel against an under-strength United.
From Mourinho's perspective, some United players gave him food for thought ahead of the Ajax game.
"I think we played a good team, a good game, against a team that tried to win and tried to finish well and finish eighth. I think we did more than okay,'' Mourinho said.
"I think all of them gave me positive feelings. Sergio had a very good performance -- more than very good.
"They showed me that they want to be in the final, they want to be an option."