Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho has said the Premier League could be “affected” by the Manchester clubs having a game in hand during the second half of the season.
Manchester City and Manchester United missed the opening weekend of the campaign after it was agreed by all 20 clubs at a summer Premier League shareholders’ meeting that each team would be given a 30-day break.
United’s game at Burnley and City’s home tie with Aston Villa were postponed to a later date as a result of their prolonged engagement in European competition at the end of the 2019-20 season, stretching into August.
Spurs are top of the table after 10 matches with United in ninth place and City in 11th, five and six points behind respectively.
“I think it is also very difficult to accept that four clubs have one match less than the others and I don’t even know when they’re going to play these matches which in every [other] country would be impossible,” Mourinho said.
“They have to be played until at least the end of the first round [of games] so until matchday 19, they should be playing these matches.”
Sources have told ESPN that there is no rule in the Premier League handbook which dictates postponed fixtures have to be played by the midway point — or any other designated week — of the season.
Newcastle‘s game with Aston Villa on Friday night will also have to be replayed after Newcastle requested a postponement due to an outbreak of positive COVID-19 tests.
“And I don’t even know when Burnley, Manchester City, Aston Villa, Manchester United and probably Newcastle and Aston Villa twice [are going to play],” Mourinho added.
“It’s difficult to accept that because it can affect the competition. But I was trying to know. I was trying for an answer this week and no-one can give me that answer. By the way, we played four matches in one week and nobody was crying or supporting us about it. And now my colleagues, when do they play these matches?”
It is unclear precisely how Mourinho attempted to voice his concerns to the Premier League but regardless the calendar is condensed as a result of the late start to the campaign but with the same end date.
The two-legged EFL Cup semifinal has been reduced to one leg and FA Cup replays have been scrapped as the only two concessions to ease congestion.
UEFA also prefer domestic leagues not to stage matches on nights assigned for European action.
There is, as yet, no indication when the outstanding Premier League fixtures will be played.
United play every weekend and midweek until the week commencing Jan. 4.
However, the EFL Cup semifinals take place then and both United and City have reached the quarterfinals.