Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has described the change in schedule for the Africa Cup of Nations to the summer months as ‘fantastic’ news for European clubs.
Speaking to KweséESPN after Wednesday night’s 1-0 International Champions Cup defeat to Barcelona about the changes to the Afcon schedule announced by CAF earlier this month, Mourinho shed light on what the shift means to Europe’s biggest sides.
At first, the United manager was not aware of the change, saying: “I don’t know about any changes. I have to read the changes and understand them.”
But once it was explained to him, Mourinho was obviously happy: “If that’s the change then it’s fantastic for us.
“Obviously because it’s hard in the middle of the season to lose players like we do, and with so many African players playing in the best competitions in Europe it’s not good for the clubs, it’s not good for the competitions and it’s not good for the players.”
The change in scheduling for the Nations Cup was one of several changes to the African football calendar announced by CAF following the symposium in Rabat last week. The confederation have also decided to expand the tournament to 24 teams and change the programming for the continent’s inter-club competitions.
“So if you can do that and you manage to do the Africa Cup in the European break,” Mourinho concluded, “it’s fantastic for us.”
United lost defender Eric Bailly during a key period of last season when he represented Ivory Coast at the Nations Cup in Gabon.