Europa: Pogba v Pogba as Man Utd Takes on Saint Etienne


*Mourinho worried by congested fixtures awaiting Red Devils

Tonight’s UEFA Europa last 32 clash between Manchester United and Saint Etienne of France at Old Trafford is going feature two brothers in opposing teams.

The more popular Manchester United midfielder, Paul Pogba, 23, is going up against his older brother, Florentin Pogba, 26, who stars for Saint-Etienne.

However, it is not the fact that the Pogbas will be on parade that is the headache of Manchester United gaffer, Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese coach is angry that United “will be in trouble” in April and May if they continue to progress in the Europa League and the FA Cup.

Mourinho is worried about fixture congestion towards the end of the season.

United, who entertain Saint-Etienne in the Europa League this evening will be at Championship side Blackburn in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Sunday.

“We cannot choose competitions at Manchester United,” said Mourinho.

United have played 38 competitive games this season, including 25 in the Premier League, five in the EFL Cup and two in the FA Cup.

They face playing a minimum of 65 games if they reach the FA Cup and the Europa League finals.

Their next top-flight match is at home to Bournemouth on 4 March, by which time Mourinho could have secured his first major trophy as United boss.

His side faces Southampton in the EFL Cup final at Wembley on 26 February, which means the league derby at Manchester City scheduled for the same day has been postponed.

They are schedule to visit Southampton in the Premier League on 12 March but that match will also be postponed if United reach the sixth round of the FA Cup.

“We know our situation is really complicated,” added Mourinho.

“The Europa League is a competition where we play on Thursdays and that makes it even more difficult for us.

“With the accumulation of FA Cup, League Cup and match postponed it is really hard for us.

“If you progress in the competitions, we will be in trouble in April and May. But we cannot choose competitions so we play to win.”

Thursday’s Europa League last-32 first leg tie at Old Trafford will be their seventh in this season’s competition. That cup provides United with one of two possible routes into next season’s Champions League.

The winners of the final on 24 May will get a Champions League spot, while United will also qualify if they secure a top-four finish in the Premier League.

United are sixth in the Premier League, two points behind fourth-placed Arsenal with 13 matches remaining.

Mourinho added: “We have two doors still open. But we are in the last 32 – not eight or four so there is a long way to go. There is also a long way to go in the Premier League.”

16 Feb: H v Saint-Etienne, Europa League last-32 first leg
19 Feb: A v Blackburn Rovers, FA Cup 5th round
22 Feb: A v Saint-Etienne, Europa League last-32 second leg
26 Feb: v Southampton, EFL Cup final, Wembley
4 March: H v Bournemouth, Premier League
9 March: Europa League last-16 first leg
12 March: FA Cup 6th round
16 March: Europa League last-16 second leg