Premier League

Don’t kill me when you see my team: Mourinho confirms United will field youth players against Palace

The Premier League’s unwillingness to help Manchester United with fixtures before the Europa League final will force his hand, the manager said.

Jose Mourinho says the Premier League’s unwillingness to help Manchester United prepare for their Europa League final will force him to pick youth players against Crystal Palace on Sunday.

United finish their league campaign against Palace at Old Trafford before facing Ajax in the Europa League final in Stockholm next Wednesday, a game they must win to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

With nothing riding on Sunday’s game for either United or Palace, who are assured of avoiding relegation, Mourinho believes it should have been moved forward a day.

“In any country in the world, the match would be Saturday because Sunday, we are sixth, doesn’t matter what, and Crystal Palace is safe,” the United manager told reporters after Wednesday’s 0-0 draw at Southampton.

“So I think after the moment Crystal Palace beat Hull City and Hull City is relegated, and Swansea is safe, I think in that moment, the match has to be Saturday.

“In any country in the world, it would be Saturday. It’s going to be Sunday. It’s frustrating for me. And I hope you don’t kill me when you see my team.”

Asked if he had submitted a request for the game to be moved, Mourinho replied, “I don’t lose time. When I know that the battle is lost, I don’t fight the battle.

“You [journalists] are English, you are here since you were born. I’m here already, four plus three, seven years. I never saw any detail of trying to care about the English teams involved in European competitions.

“I never saw that with Chelsea, I never saw that with Manchester United, with [Champions League semi-finalists] Manchester City last year. I never saw.

“So I think it’s just a lost battle. We have to accept the way it is.”

The United manager has confirmed Sergio Romero will start the Europa League final and the Argentina goalkeeper seized a chance to shine at Southampton, plunging to his right to save a sixth-minute penalty from Manolo Gabbiadini.

Big Sam plea

Rather than restore his usual number one, David de Gea, to his starting XI against Palace, Mourinho said he would hand a league debut to 20-year-old third-choice goalkeeper Joel Pereira.

Mourinho said Axel Tuanzebe, who has started United’s last three league games, would be involved, along with his fellow academy graduates Demetri Mitchell, Scott McTominay, Matty Willock, Josh Harrop and Zachary Dearnley.

“I hope the fans at Old Trafford support the team, they forgive some naivety, they forgive some lack of confidence,” Mourinho said.

“And I hope that Big Sam [Allardyce, the Palace manager] shows he is a good friend and he goes slow. He tells [Wilfried] Zaha to go slow, he leaves [Christian] Benteke at home. I hope he goes soft on us.”

Mourinho also said centre-back Eric Bailly, who is suspended for the final, would feature, as well as Paul Pogba, who has been granted compassionate leave following the death of his father last Friday.

Marouane Fellaini came off rubbing the back of his right thigh against Southampton, but Mourinho said the Belgian midfielder was confident he had not torn his hamstring.

The result at St Mary’s was United’s 15th draw of a frustrating league season and means they are guaranteed to register their lowest number of wins in a campaign since the 1990-’91 season.

But United were already guaranteed to finish sixth, while Southampton, who have not scored in four successive top-flight home games for the first time, remain eighth.

Southampton manager Claude Puel refused to discuss his future at the club, which is the subject of speculation.

“I try to stay focused about our last game now,” said the Frenchman, whose side finish their campaign at home to Stoke City on Sunday. “After the season we have time to discuss and speak about this and make a debrief. It’s important to focus on our last game.”

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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.