Jose Mourinho welcomed the Premier League’s decision to have Tottenham play Fulham on Wednesday as Aston Villa attempt to recover from a coronavirus outbreak.
Spurs will host Fulham when they were scheduled to instead take on Villa, who had to field an academy side against Liverpool in the FA Cup after COVID-19 wiped out their first team.
The Fulham fixture had been postponed from December due to their own problems with the virus, a short-notice call that frustrated Mourinho.
The Tottenham coach was rather more enthused by the league’s resolution this week, hailing it as a crucial step in order to keep the season going.
“The biggest impact is to have matches postponed. That is the biggest impact,” Mourinho said.
“The changing of the order of the matches, the impact is minimal because, in the end, you have to play 19 matches at home and 19 matches away, you have to play two matches against every team.
“If it is to help the Premier League to go and to end properly, I think it is a solution we all have to accept as a positive solution.”
But Fulham see the change rather differently, with the move only confirmed on Monday when Scott Parker’s side otherwise expected a week off.
— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) January 11, 2021
Given the last-minute nature of the initial postponement, the relegation battlers received little sympathy from Mourinho, however.
Asked if the switch was fair on Fulham, Mourinho replied: “Are you serious?
“They had 48 hours to prepare for this game? You think so? I had the news I was not going to play them two hours before the game started.”
Parker, a former player of Mourinho’s at Chelsea, was not impressed by the shake-up.
“It was a possibility on Saturday afternoon,” said Parker. “I didn’t think it was realistic.
“We were then told on Monday at 0930 we had to fill in for Villa. I realise we live in unpredictable times. We have to move things and it is not ideal.
“I am normally the last one to moan or whine. To confirm a Premier League game at 0930 on Monday morning is scandalous.
“It’s not about the fixture. I accept we have to play but it’s the notice. The people making these decisions don’t understand.”
Fulham have not played since Boxing Day, with a second fixture – against Burnley – also postponed, although Parker’s men are unbeaten in five in all competitions.