It’s not really surprising that managers just hate the international break.
While a two-week break from domestic football isn’t exactly welcome, the fact that the players come back fatigued after travelling the world - or worse yet, injured - leaves them pulling their hair out.
That has happened to a series of Premier League managers this time around.
Arsene Wenger has lost Shkodran Mustafi, Antonio Conte could be without N’Golo Kane, while Jurgen Klopp was dealt with the news that Sadio Mane will be sidelined for six weeks.
But it was Jose Mourinho that appeared to kick up the most fuss.
With Paul Pogba already out injured, midfielder Marouane Fellaini picked up an injury whilst on international duty with Belgium.
And there was a fear Romelu Lukaku had also suffered an ankle injury during United’s 4-0 win against Crystal Palace before he was called up by Roberto Martinez - despite Belgium already qualifying for the World Cup.
Mourinho would have been glad that Martinez decided not to play him during their 4-3 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina. But heading into their clash with Cyprus on Tuesday, Mourinho was hoping Martinez didn’t play Lukaku - especially with their crunch match against Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime.
Mourinho played mind games
Ahead of the game, Mourinho attempted to play mind games in a bid convince Martinez not to play his striker.
If he plays tonight it’s because he recovers,” Mourinho said before the Cyprus game.
“We don’t cry with injuries, we may cry with the process that leads to injures, but we don’t cry. We just trust the players that are going to help.”
Martinez didn't consult Mourinho
But Martinez insisted that Lukaku was fit and that he hadn’t spoken to Mourinho about his decision.
“Romelu Lukaku is fit,” the former Everton boss said.
“The reason [Lukaku] wasn’t in the squad in the previous game was because he wasn’t 100 per cent. Now he is 100 per cent but we need to take into consideration that he has been with the group for only one session.”
How Mourinho reacted
But when Martinez decided to bring on Lukaku when they were 3-0 ahead in the 66th minute with qualification and another three points already secured, we’d love to have seen Mourinho’s face.
Well, according to The Times, Mourinho is “dismayed” with Martinez’s decision to play Lukaku despite his recent ankle injury.
To be fair, Lukaku looked fully fit and scored within 12 minutes of being on the pitch.
But Mourinho is reportedly unhappy with Martinez for bringing him on as a sub with the clash against Liverpool just a few days away.
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