Rostov have more time to prepare for second leg - Mourinho hits out at scheduling

Updated: 

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has hit out at his team's fixture pile-up again, highlighting that Rostov have an extra day of recovery time ahead of Thursday's Europa League last-16 second leg.

United have the advantage in the tie after claiming a 1-1 draw from the first leg in Russia on a sub-standard pitch.

But Mourinho, whose side face a trip to his former club Chelsea in an FA Cup quarter-final on Monday, complained his players will have not as much time to prepare as Rostov, who next play on Sunday.

"An away goal is always positive; it's better 1-1 than 0-0, obviously," Mourinho said at his post-match news conference. "But the game is open, the result is open and this Rostov team has experience of playing big matches, big opponents, big stadiums. 

"I don't think it's a problem for them to go to Old Trafford and play us. They play Sunday against Terek Grozny, we play Monday against Chelsea - they know they have more time. 

"It's more difficult but we are one step from the quarter-finals. Old Trafford will push us and hopefully we'll get to the quarter-finals."

Goalscorer Henrikh Mkhitaryan's return to fitness was a boost for United, the Armenian making his first appearance since the last round of the Europa League against Saint-Etienne, and Mourinho provided an update on the playmaker's fitness.

"We know he cannot play 90 minutes," Mourinho said. "We knew he would only play 60 minutes - it doesn't matter [what] the result [was], we made that decision together as he is not in the best condition.

"We gave him freedom to play in attacking positions with Zlatan [Ibrahimovic], to try to find spaces to score. He did well and managed to finish the game without injury, which is important for us."