Jose Mourinho blasts Man United schedule: 'We have lots of enemies'
Jose Mourinho spoke out against Manchester United's packed fixture schedule after his side reached the quarterfinals of the Europa League on Thursday.
Despite creating a host of chances, United needed Mata's second-half strike to create enough breathing room to take them into the last eight of the competition.
But United also lost Paul Pogba and Daley Blind to injuries in the second half, leading Mourinho to say afterward that "fatigue has a price" after United lost in the FA Cup on Monday and have to play again on Sunday in the Premier League.
"We have lots of enemies," Mourinho said on BT Sport. "Normally the enemies should be Rostov but we have a lot of enemies. It's difficult to play Monday with 10 men, it's difficult to play now, it's difficult to play 12 o'clock on Sunday. We have a lot of enemies.
"A lot of people might say we should have scored more goals. But a lot of things are going against us. The boys are amazing boys.
"We will probably lose the game on Sunday [at Middlesbrough]. Fatigue has a price.
"I will remember forever when I spoke to the UEFA delegate in Rostov. He told me if any of our players gets injured, the insurance paid. Whoever decided the Monday and Sunday games probably thinks the same way."
Sergio Romero was called upon to make two late saves to ensure the game didn't head to extra time.
And Mourinho admitted: "In the first half we were fresh, not bad and we were really dominant and we created chances and looked like we were going to score a couple of goals to kill it. I was afraid of extra-time and I knew I had Marcos Rojo in trouble, so it was a difficult game."
Mourinho also said Manchester City's exit from the Champions League on Wednesday is nothing for his club to celebrate as the local rivals compete for a top-four spot.
"I'm very disappointed. I'm not making fun of it. I'm feeling it. It's bad for us for many reasons" he said. "All the five teams in front of us in the Premier League, nobody has international football so will be playing one match per week like some of them have been all season.
"They don't know what fatigue is. We fight until the limits."
Mata also said the level of play in the Europa League is "difficult" after his goal secured victory.
"It was a matter of finishing our chances again," Mata told BT Sport. "We created some good chances but we could not score. It is important we kept a clean sheet so we are happy today.
"They are a team that push until the end. They play with a difficult system but we adapted well. We are playing at Old Trafford and need to do well.
"Our aim is to win every tournament we play in. It is a good chance to play Champions League next season and we will try until the end. The level in the Europa League is difficult."
Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.