Jose Mourinho explains why he likes the sound of a 48 team FIFA World Cup

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has led proposals for an increasing in participating teams

Manchester United, Jose Mourinho

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho during the Premier League match at London Stadium. Picture by John Walton PA Wire/PA Images

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has backed FIFA plans for a 48 team World Cup.

Since 1998, the final tournament has had 32 teams.

But FIFA president Gianni Infantino has led proposals to increase the tournament's size by an extra 16 teams.

Initially a preliminary round with 32 teams fighting for 16 places was initially mooted.

The 16 qualifiers would then join 16 seeded nations in a 32 team group stage.

However, in December, AFP reported that it would be changed to a 48 country group stage with 16 groups of three teams.

Any changes would likely come into force after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Speaking about the proposals to FIFA.com in a question and answer session, Mourinho gave strong backing to the idea.

"I’m totally in favour. As a club manager, if the expansion meant more games, less holidays and less pre-season for players, I would say no. But it’s important for critics to analyse and understand that expansion doesn’t mean more matches," said the Man United manager.

He also spoke in favour of a structure comprising of 16 groups of three teams, citing a reduced number of matches around the group stage.

"Players are protected and clubs are protected in this way. I prefer groups of three. Two matches and then through to the knock-out stages or go home," he said.

"This way, the two group matches are crucial, then the knock-out stage is next which brings even more emotion. Teams with less potential and experience will probably play two matches and go home."