Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates after scoring the only goal of the game during the Europa League Group A soccer match against Zorya Luhansk at Old Trafford.
Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates after scoring the only goal of the game during the Europa League Group A soccer match against Zorya Luhansk at Old Trafford. Dave Thompson

Mourinho bemoans side's schedule

FOOTBALL: Manager Jose Mourinho has claimed Manchester United's Europa League hopes have been compromised by the "poisoned gift” of television scheduling.

United faces a reunion with former striker Robin van Persie when Group A leader Fenerbahce visits Old Trafford on October 20. The clash will sit between two English Premier League games in six days, against Liverpool on October 17 and Chelsea on October 23.

Despite claiming a 1-0 victory at home to Zorya Luhansk yesterday, failure to defeat the Turkish outfit would leave Mourinho's team facing a battle to make the knock-out stages.

"We need to be good to win matches in the Europa League,” Mourinho said. "We need to play seriously.

"We could play Liverpool on the Saturday or on the Sunday, but we play Liverpool on the Monday ... We have this kind of poisoned gift of playing on Monday, which creates a very difficult situation.”

United, which lost its opening Europa League game against Feyenoord two weeks ago, sits third in Group A after Zlatan Ibrahimovic's second-half goal secured victory against Ukrainian opponents Zorya.

The goal came moments after Wayne Rooney was introduced as a second-half substitute, with the England captain inadvertently teeing up Ibrahimovic's goal with a mis-kick.

Meanwhile, despite Rooney losing his first-team position at United, he has been told by new England manager Gareth Southgate that he would remain as captain of the national side.

Southgate has been named manager for the next four internationals following Sam Allardyce's departure.

United sits sixth on the EPL table behind Man City, Spurs, Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton.

EPL DRAW: Tonight: Swansea v Liverpool 9.30pm; West Ham v Middlesbrough, Hull v Chelsea, Sunderland v West Brom, Watford v Bournemouth midnight. Tomorrow: Man United v Stoke 9pm; Leicester v Southampton, Tottenham v Man City 11.15pm.



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