MANCHESTER, England (AP) – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho mistreated Bastian Schweinsteiger, and said Friday he regrets it.
Mourinho let the 32-year-old German midfielder join the Chicago Fire this week, bringing an end to his brief spell at Old Trafford.
''Bastian is in the category of players that I feel sorry for something that I did to him,'' the Portuguese coach said. ''I don't want to speak about him as a player. I don't want to speak about him as whether I would buy him or not to buy him. I want to speak about him as a professional.
''I want to speak about him as a human being and that was the last thing I told him before he left, `I was not right with you once, I have to be right to you now.' So, when he was asking me to let him leave, I had to say, 'Yes, you can leave,' because I did it once, I cannot do it twice. So I feel sorry for the first period with him. He knows that.''
Schweinsteiger spent 17 years at Bayern Munich and won more than a dozen trophies, including the Champions League. He also helped Germany win the 2014 World Cup before announcing his retirement from international duty.
But Schweinsteiger made only four appearances for United this season - none in the Premier League. He trained alone in the early part of this season before being re-introduced back into the squad in November.
Last week, he signed a one-year deal with the Fire. Mourinho said he will ''miss a good guy, a good professional, a good influence in training.''
''We had a huge squad in the beginning. But, after knowing him as a professional, and as a person, the way he was behaving and the way he was respecting my decisions as a manager, yes, I regret it and it is no problem for me to admit it and he knows that because I told him.''
United, which is in fifth place in the Premier League and faces West Bromwich Albion at home on Saturday, will be without five players this weekend. In addition to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ander Herrera serving suspensions, Mourinho said Paul Pogba (hamstring), Phil Jones (toe) and Chris Smalling (knee) were sidelined through injury.
Mourinho said Jones and Smalling had ''long-term injuries'' sustained while on England duty.