Bailly will be suspended for the Stockholm final on 24 May after becoming entangled in an 88th-minute mêlée at Old Trafford, with United leading 2-1 on aggregate. Bailly struck the Vigo No9, John Guidetti, Antonio Valencia then pushed the former Manchester City striker while Celta Vigo’s Facundo Roncaglia raised his arms.
The referee, Ovidio Hategan, had seemingly little option but to brandish a red card at Bailly.
Asked about the fracas, Mourinho said: “I didn’t see the incident but he [Bailly] was phenomenal. The game was emotional until the end for everyone.
“Some kept their control in a better way than others. And I think it was the wrong card. The wrong card is not new in this kind of situation and probably Eric was a bit naive. I don’t know [the details of] the incident but we have lost a very important player for the final and we don’t have many.”
United took the lead via Marouane Fellaini’s 17th-minute header to put them 2-0 ahead on aggregate but when Roncaglia equalised, five minutes from the end of normal time, United were forced to hang on. The manager praised his players for doing so but was unhappy they had not killed the tie during last week’s first leg in Vigo. “The boys didn’t play a phenomenal match but they fought, they gave everything they had to give and I’m really pleased for them because 14 matches and we are in the final so it’s good.
“I could guess from the first match because it was similar to Anderlecht [in the previous round],” Mourinho said. “When you are the best team by far in the first leg, you have to kill everything in the first leg. We don’t because we never kill, we never score goals related to the chances we have. And then we got an open game at home with all the pressure on our side with them completely free of pressure and responsibility and they gave us a very hard match. So we had to suffer until the end and everything was open until the last second.”
United will face Ajax in the final and Mourinho has won all his six previous meetings against the Dutch side. “It means nothing. A final is a final and I played Ajax with Real Madrid all the six matches,” he said. “It will be difficult. They are a young team, strong team and they finish their league this weekend. They will have 12 days to prepare for the final and we will have three matches in the Premier League and not many players.” Mourinho then pledged to rest players for the final game of season when Crystal Palace visit Old Trafford.
About possibly claiming the one major competition United have never won, he said: “Of course it’s better because it’s a trophy. It’s the second trophy of course in Europe and it’s an important trophy. It gives you the European Super Cup to play for in August so it’s a big, big match for us in Stockholm. I am more than happy if we win the Europa League. It was so difficult, so hard for me this season, so if we manage to do that it will be amazing.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
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