Jose Mourinho has reacted to news of Manchester United drawing his former side Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter final, noting that Antonio Conte’s men will benefit from having already wrapped up the title and not being in Europe this season.
Mourinho will now have a chance to rectify the calamitous 4-0 defeat suffered at Stamford Bridge back in October next month.
But the 54-year-old, speaking after the game, was quick to not that the tie against Chelsea won’t be easy.
“Probably Chelsea can only think about that [the FA Cup] because I think they are champions and they have nothing else to fight for,” he said.
“The FA Cup is something I believe is important for them. I have to play St-Etienne [on Wednesday], I have to play the final, I have to play hopefully another opponent in the Europa League.
“I have to fight for a top-four position in the Premier League. I have so many things to think about.”
For those of you feeling confident for the visit to Stamford Bridge, it might be worth remembering that United have won just twice at Stamford Bridge over the last 15 years, with one of those wins coming courtesy of an offside goal and playing against nine men.
My apologies, reader, for the outright pessimism, but stats are stats, and this is without doubt United’s worst bogey ground.
Then again, such a poisoned chalice could, ironically, be something of a blessing in disguise. Mourinho’s men can approach this game with a nothing-to-lose mentality and will take to the field knowing they have dramatically improved since receiving a battering back in October.