Manchester United's fixture pile-up is nothing unusual, says Jamie Carragher

Is Jose Mourinho right to complain about Manchester United’s schedule? Jamie Carragher had his say on Monday Night Football

Jose Mourinho has complained about Manchester United's nine fixtures in April - but Jamie Carragher told Monday Night Football that workload is "the norm" for successful teams.

United's top-four hopes took a hit with a draw at home to Swansea on Sunday, leaving them a point off the Champions League qualifying spots, and after the game boss Mourinho pointed to fixture congestion as an issue for his team.

United - who face Arsenal next Sunday, live on Sky Sports, after their midweek Europa League semi-final with Celta Vigo - dropped Premier League points against West Brom, Everton, Manchester City and Swansea last month, as they juggled European commitments with injury problems.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 30:  Gylfi Sigurdsson of Swansea City celebrates scoring his sides first goal with Martin Olsson of Swansea City during the Pre 2:54
Watch highlights of Man Utd 1-1 Swansea

But Carragher highlighted the fact a number of top teams have had to cope with similar situations. "At Manchester United you have players who are used to playing that amount of games," said the Sky Sports pundit. "I think seven or eight teams in Europe have played nine games in April.

"If you're a Manchester United manager you want to play nine games in April because it shows you're performing, you're still in competitions, you're still going for things.

I don't see anything out of the ordinary there in the number of games played.
Jamie Carragher

"I don't see anything out of the ordinary there in the number of games played. It shows you're successful, and if United could play 63, 64 games this season, last year they played 59. That's not a massive difference.

"Yeah, they're complaining but it shows they're doing well and that is the norm, especially going forward for Manchester United, especially if they want to get back into the Champions League."

Also See:

Live Nissan Super Sunday

Former Newcastle and Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew was also in the studio and he had some sympathy for Mourinho, explaining Europa League fixtures and injuries can take their toll.

"Nine games in April is a tough call for a manager," he said. "The couple of Europa League campaigns I've had, you start to lose the sharpness in the players, you start to sense it and see it and it becomes a problem.

"With your selection you're trying to even it out. It does become a worry for you, the sharpness of the team is dropping off.

"He also had some injuries which have restricted him somewhat in his selection of players and he's lost Zlatan Ibrahimovic, which is a massive problem for Manchester United coming into the big semi-final they have this week.

preview image 0:39
Does Rashford dive? Watch the incident here

"Twenty-six games unbeaten isn't a bad run, but I think everybody is expecting something a little bit more than they're delivering, particularly United fans who are used to that attacking style, it really isn't Jose.

"He's trying to get the balance right, but with a lack of sharpness and playing without Zlatan, he's just a little frustrated, I think.

"The problem he's got is he's got injuries and he's changing the team and he hasn't got time to work on that particular team.

"The sport scientists are really pulling you about recovery. It's a massive part of the game. Also you have the individual players, they're like chief executives of their own companies now, they have their own sports scientists advising them and giving them little tips and it becomes a problem about how much work you can get on the training ground into the team.

"It's very, very difficult when you've got nine games in one month."

Around Sky