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01st Jan 2017

Jose Mourinho advocates “killing Christmas” but pleads for a winter break

United boss is a pragmatist if nothing else

Mikey Stafford

Manchester United completed a busy December with a dramatic, last-gasp 2-1 win over Middlesbrough on New Year’s Eve.

The club’s festive form made for very pleasant reading. Following a disappointing 1-1 draw at Everton, they won six on the spin, including five Premier League matches.

That was despite manager Jose Mourinho making a couple of flying visits to his native Portugal during Christmas week, where his wife was being treated in a Lisbon hospital.

Not too much festive cheer then for the United manager, away from the pitch at least, but an interview with fanzine United We Stand would suggest Mourinho is not too bothered with Christmas anyway.

While the former Porto, Internazionale and Real Madrid manager would like to see the Premier League follow the continental model and introduce a winter break, he is pragmatic enough to know it can’t come at the cost of the festive calendar.

“It shouldn’t be at Christmas because tradition demands not and tradition plays a role,” said Mourinho.

“The commercial point of view is also important, but I would say play the crazy Christmas period but after it has finished, give us a break. Play Boxing Day, play the 28th and the 31st or New Year’s Day. Kill our Christmas and our families’ Christmas.

“I agree with that, but then please let us breathe, let us recover, give the players 10 days off and then we start again.”

Mourinho would also advocate the abolition of FA Cup replays and a bye in earlier rounds for teams in European competitions.