Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho, has criticized the scheduling of mid-season international friendly matches, after losing England defenders Chris Smalling and Phil Jones to injury.
Smalling sustained a leg injury, while Jones is nursing a toe problem.
Mourinho is already without the injured Paul Pogba for Saturday’s Premier League match against West Brom, as well as suspended duo Ander Herrera and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
“I am totally against the friendly matches,” he said to Sky Sports.
“I think friendly matches for the national team only make sense before the final phases.
“A couple of weeks before the Euros or a couple of weeks before the World Cup makes sense. But mid-season friendly matches mixed with qualification matches, I don’t think that makes sense.
“On top of that the matches are not really big matches so I am not a big fan. But I think one day I will be there so I cannot be very critical.
“I don’t know how but both central defenders got injured in the English camp even before the match.
“The match was on the Sunday against Lithuania and they were injured in the training session.”
Mourinho had 13 of his players on international duty, while West Brom had just one.
“I watched Antonio Valencia’s match in Ecuador, Marcos Rojo in Bolivia, but they don’t arrive until Thursday afternoon.
“If you compare our situation with our opponents – West Bromwich Albion only had one player on international duty. They had time to work, time to rest and prepare. It is going to be hard,” Mourinho added.
United – unbeaten in 18 league matches – are fifth in the table, four points behind Liverpool above them with two games in hand.