Manchester United have released research showing that their fixture congestion over the Christmas period is worse than their top six rivals.
Jose Mourinho’s men begun a month period comprising of ten games with a 3-1 win over Arsenal on December 2.
And they face clashes with Leicester City, Burnley, Southampton, Everton and Derby before the first weekend of 2018, with a rest period totalling just six days.
The club has taken the unusual step of publicly outlining how such congestion is not replicated for other sides around them in the table.
“All 20 top-flight clubs are faced with taxing schedules but our research shows that Manchester United have a harder time of it than our rivals towards the top of the table,” he said.
“Jose Mourinho’s side have a total of six non-matchdays over the period – no club has fewer.
“London trio Arsenal, Tottenham and West Ham can boast three more, due to the Gunners’ clash with Liverpool being brought forward to this Friday and the Spurs vs West Ham derby moving back to January 4.
“Chelsea’s matches are nicely spaced out to give them a total of eight days between games, while Liverpool and Manchester City have seven.
“The reigning champions have three days between their second and third games, unlike the one to be experienced by United and 14 other Premier League sides.
“A short trip to Arsenal on January 3 gives the Blues and the Gunners a little more grace.”
None of what has been said here is wrong. In fact, every little bit of it is bang on and, yeah, probably a bit harsh on Mourinho, who will no doubt refer to this imbalance if another galling defeat or injury comes in the process.
But United should know that whinging about the whole thing achieves absolutely nothing. This doesn’t reflect a side confident in their ability and personnel to navigate a typically busy December period, but rather a club as a whole feeling slightly strained by Manchester City’s exhilarating form going into the new year.
Above all, it’s a sign of a weakness, and that is the last thing you want following defeat to Bristol City and ahead of an important run of games.