Monday, 12 December 2016
Man United's Jose Mourinho welcomes St Etienne Europa League draw
United will face St Etienne for the first time the 1977 European Cup Winners'
Cup when the two teams meet in the round of 32 next February.
The tie will also see Paul Pogba, United's £89.3 million world record signing, face his older brother, Florentin, in the two-legged encounter.
But having avoided potentially difficult trips to Turkey, Russia and Ukraine, Mourinho said United could have no complaints about the draw.
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"The good thing is the travel distance," Mourinho said. "We travelled very far and to some difficult places in the group stage, to Turkey and Ukraine.
"But France is an easy flight, in an easy period with a lot of matches.
"St Etienne are also a historical club with lots of tradition, People of my generation will never forget the Michel Platini team, so it will be difficult.
"Manchester United is one of the big names in the competition and it will be hard for us, but we have two months without the Europa League and we can forget it for that time."
Mourinho added that Pogba, signed from Juventus in the summer, was quick to tell him of the family connection of facing his brother.
"It's a nice thing," Mourinho said. "Paul was already laughing and for sure his brother is also laughing.
Man United's Marouane Fellaini 'strong' enough to deal with boos - Phil Jones
Fellaini, 29, was booed by some United supporters when he came out to warm up during the 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on Sunday, and he was eventually brought on as a substitute in injury time.
During United's previous Premier League match, at Everton, the Belgium international had also come off the bench with his side leading 1-0 and gave away a penalty that led to the home side equalising.
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Jones told reporters after the win over Tottenham: "It is disappointing, but he is a strong boy. He is mentally strong to cope with that, don't worry.
"We know what he is good at and he has to carry on. That's what he is there to do. He does a good job for us. He has to put it aside."
Mourinho had said in his postmatch news conference on Sunday that he would give Fellaini his protection and trust -- but understood the criticism from fans.