EUROPEAN FOOTBALL

‘My feeling is not good’: Jose Mourinho rues Manchester United’s injury woes after Anderlecht win

The Reds’ 2-1 extra-time win came at the cost of injuries to defender Marcos Rojo and star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was not a happy man despite his team progressing to the semi-finals of the Europa League after a 2-1 extra-time win over Anderlecht on Thursday, which came at the cost of injuries to defender Marcos Rojo and star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The Portuguese said he does not feel good about both the injuries, but did not want to give a verdict until doctors had assessed them. Rojo was taken off on a stretcher halfway into the first half after injuring his knee, while Ibrahimovic hobbled off after falling heavily on his knee minutes before the game entered extra-time.

“I want to wait but my feeling is not good, for both,” Mourinho said, when asked how long the pair might be out. “I want to try to be optimistic, but I’m not. I don’t think they are easy injuries but I prefer to wait until all the tests are done tomorrow. After tomorrow then I can speak what I feel because I am a manager, not a doctor.”

The injury to Rojo means that Eric Bailly is the only one out of United’s four central defenders who is currently not carrying an injury. Mourinho asked for Chris Smalling, who also has a knee problem, and Phil Jones, who is nursing a toe injury, to step up for the team’s cause.

“We have Daley Blind, and it is time for Jones and Smalling to be brave, to risk, because for the team you have the do everything,” he said. Asked how soon Smalling and Jones might return, Mourinho said jokingly, “If it was me, tomorrow. But no, they cannot do miracles. But rather than mid-May make it early May.”

‘Dream to win’

United were stretched by Anderlecht on Thursday, despite opening the scoring early via Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the 10th minute. The Belgian side equalised via Sofiane Hanni in the first half itself, before the two teams battled it out for the rest of regulation time in search of a winner. In the end, United needed an extra-time winner from Marcus Rashford to seal the tie, but not before experiencing some nervy moments with the Belgians throwing the kitchen sink at them.

“It was a difficult game, a difficult opponent,” Mourinho said. “I am tired, I imagine the players are more tired than me, but we are in the [semi-final] draw [on Friday] and we still have the dream to win the competition.”

United joined Ajax, Lyon, and Celta Vigo in the last four of the competition, with Mourinho saying neither of those opponents will be easy to play considering Anderlecht’s spirited display. “We had [on Thursday] an example of how difficult it is [in the Europa League] and we now have a Spanish team, a French team and Ajax [in the semi-final draw], so we are not expecting anything easy.”

Mourinho also reiterated that United will battle for Champions League on both fronts – the Premier League and the Europa League. United currently lie fifth in the Premier League table, four points behind fourth-place Manchester City, with a game in hand. The Red Devils travel to Burnley on Sunday in the Premier League.

“We keep trying,” Mourinho said. “While mathematically it is possible [to finish in the top four] in the Premier League, we have to fight for it. If one day it is not mathematically possible we have to put everything in the Europa League because the Europa League is an important title and on top of that the bonus of playing in the Champions League.”

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“My body instantly craves chai and samosa”

German expats talk about adapting to India, and the surprising similarities between the two cultures.

The cultural similarities between Germany and India are well known, especially with regards to the language. Linguists believe that Sanskrit and German share the same Indo-Germanic heritage of languages. A quick comparison indeed holds up theory - ratha in Sanskrit (chariot) is rad in German, aksha (axle) in Sanskrit is achse in German and so on. Germans have long held a fascination for Indology and Sanskrit. While Max Müller is still admired for his translation of ancient Indian scriptures, other German intellectuals such as Goethe, Herder and Schlegel were deeply influenced by Kalidasa. His poetry is said to have informed Goethe’s plays, and inspired Schlegel to eventually introduce formal Indology in Germany. Beyond the arts and academia, Indian influences even found their way into German fast food! Indians would recognise the famous German curry powder as a modification of the Indian masala mix. It’s most popular application is the currywurst - fried sausage covered in curried ketchup.

It is no wonder then that German travellers in India find a quite a lot in common between the two cultures, even today. Some, especially those who’ve settled here, even confess to Indian culture growing on them with time. Isabelle, like most travellers, first came to India to explore the country’s rich heritage. She returned the following year as an exchange student, and a couple of years later found herself working for an Indian consultancy firm. When asked what prompted her to stay on, Isabelle said, “I love the market dynamics here, working here is so much fun. Anywhere else would seem boring compared to India.” Having cofounded a company, she eventually realised her entrepreneurial dream here and now resides in Goa with her husband.

Isabelle says there are several aspects of life in India that remind her of home. “How we interact with our everyday life is similar in both Germany and India. Separate house slippers to wear at home, the celebration of food and festivals, the importance of friendship…” She feels Germany and India share the same spirit especially in terms of festivities. “We love food and we love celebrating food. There is an entire countdown to Christmas. Every day there is some dinner or get-together,” much like how Indians excitedly countdown to Navratri or Diwali. Franziska, who was born in India to German parents, adds that both the countries exhibit the same kind of passion for their favourite sport. “In India, they support cricket like anything while in Germany it would be football.”

Having lived in India for almost a decade, Isabelle has also noticed some broad similarities in the way children are brought up in the two countries. “We have a saying in South Germany ‘Schaffe Schaffe Hausle baue’ that loosely translates to ‘work, work, work and build a house’. I found that parents here have a similar outlook…to teach their children to work hard. They feel that they’ve fulfilled their duty only once the children have moved out or gotten married. Also, my mother never let me leave the house without a big breakfast. It’s the same here.” The importance given to the care of the family is one similarity that came up again and again in conversations with all German expats.

While most people wouldn’t draw parallels between German and Indian discipline (or lack thereof), Germans married to Indians have found a way to bridge the gap. Take for example, Ilka, who thinks that the famed differences of discipline between the two cultures actually works to her marital advantage. She sees the difference as Germans being highly planning-oriented; while Indians are more flexible in their approach. Ilka and her husband balance each other out in several ways. She says, like most Germans, she too tends to get stressed when her plans don’t work out, but her husband calms her down.

Consequently, Ilka feels India is “so full of life. The social life here is more happening; people smile at you, bond over food and are much more relaxed.” Isabelle, too, can attest to Indians’ friendliness. When asked about an Indian characteristic that makes her feel most at home, she quickly answers “humour.” “Whether it’s a taxi driver or someone I’m meeting professionally, I’ve learnt that it’s easy to lighten the mood here by just cracking a few jokes. Indians love to laugh,” she adds.

Indeed, these Germans-who-never-left as just diehard Indophiles are more Indian than you’d guess at first, having even developed some classic Indian skills with time. Ilka assures us that her husband can’t bargain as well as she does, and that she can even drape a saree on her own.

Isabelle, meanwhile, feels some amount of Indianness has seeped into her because “whenever its raining, my body instantly craves chai and samosa”.

Like the long-settled German expats in India, the German airline, Lufthansa, too has incorporated some quintessential aspects of Indian culture in its service. Recognising the centuries-old cultural affinity between the two countries, Lufthansa now provides a rich experience of Indian hospitality to all flyers on board its flights to and from India. You can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalized by Lufthansa to the extent that they are More Indian Than You Think. To experience Lufthansa’s hospitality on your next trip abroad, click here.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.