Mourinho says Europa League final will be clash of 'monsters', suggests spa trip for tired players
Jose Mourinho says Manchester United’s Europa League final against Ajax will be a clash of ‘monsters’.
The Portuguese manager saw his team see off Celta Vigo in the semi-final second leg on Thursday with a 2-1 aggregate win, despite a late charge from the away side.
The win sees United travel to Stockholm at the end of the month for the final against the Dutch side who overcame Lyon in the other last-four match. The winner of that match will take a place in next season’s Champions League.
"First of all, (they are) two monsters," Mourinho said. "The history of Manchester United and Ajax are amazing, so that’s amazing.
" It’s the last match of the season. I just feel sorry that my boys, the next day have to go to the national teams, because these guys they should go to a spa after almost 70 matches."
"They should go to a spa but they all go to the national teams to play a couple of matches."
Mourinho will be without Eric Bailly on May 24 after the defender was dismissed for raising his hand to John Guidetti and Facundo Roncaglia - who was also sent off - for retaliating during a heated clash of players.
Both players will now be suspended for the final in Stockholm against Ajax on May 24.
Speaking about Bailly after the match at Old Trafford, Mourinho told BT Sport: "I didn't see the incident, but he was phenomenal. The game was emotional until the end for everyone. Some kept control in better ways than others.
"I don't know but I think it was with Roncaglia, right? Roncaglia's not new in these kind of situations and probably Eric was a bit naive.
" We lose a very important player for the final and we don't have many."
United's task looked straightforward enough when they took the lead via Marouane Fellaini's 17th-minute header to make it 2-0 on aggregate.
But it was nervy for them thereafter, with Celta wasting several decent opportunities before equalising through Roncaglia in the 85th minute - three minutes before he and Bailly were dismissed – and ex-City man Guidetti then passing up another good chance right at the end.
Mourinho hailed his players for the attitude they showed as they came through to seal a spot in a final he feels can be a "perfect" end to the season, with Champions League football on offer for the winner in Stockholm.
"In the end, when the game was difficult, when they were better than us and we were in trouble and not playing well, it was that mentality, that desire, that togetherness that made the boys fight until the end," the Portuguese said.
"The final means an opportunity to win a trophy, to be back in the Champions League, and to end the season in the perfect way because it is the last match of the season."
Mourinho rested players last weekend in preparation for this game, making eight alterations to his starting line-up for the 2-0 Premier League defeat at Arsenal.
And with a view to the final against Ajax, the Portuguese has vowed to make "a lot" of changes for his side's final top-flight match of the season on May 21, a home clash with Crystal Palace.
Mourinho, whose team are sixth in the Premier League, said: "Obviously now Ajax think about the final. Their league finishes on Sunday and they will have 10 days to prepare.
"We have three league matches to play. Hopefully Crystal Palace don't need (anything from) the last game because I am going to make a lot of changes. It doesn't matter what happens. And nobody can blame us, because we have a final three days later.