Will Mourinho park the bus again?

Manawatu Standard - - Sport -

Ex­ploit­ing a kind early-sea­son sched­ule, Manch­ester United have showed at­tack­ing flair un­der Jose Mourinho by scor­ing four goals in six of its 11 games.

It’s time to find out if that pos­i­tive ap­proach is here to stay now the fix­tures are stiff­en­ing for the team.

Among their next four games in the English Premier League, United face Liver­pool, Tot­ten­ham and Chelsea - sides which will be likely con­tenders for the ti­tle. A visit to fierce ri­val Liver­pool is first tonight, mean­ing a re­turn to the scene of prob­a­bly United’s most neg­a­tive and de­fen­sive per­for­mance last sea­son. It was a classic, con­tain­ing game plan by Mourinho and it made for an un­der­whelm­ing 0-0 at An­field, with United hav­ing only 35 per cent pos­ses­sion.

Some la­belled it a be­trayal of

United’s at­tack­ing her­itage, es­pe­cially on the back of three con­sec­u­tive off-sea­sons of heavy spend­ing. Oth­ers said it was an

en­tirely sen­si­ble ploy given that Liver­pool had English soc­cer’s most pro­lific at­tack at the time.

Mourinho couldn’t re­ally care

less, rel­ish­ing the fact his side sti­fled what he called, some­what tongue in cheek, ‘‘the last won­der of the world in at­tack­ing foot­ball.’'

In his sec­ond sea­son at United and hav­ing stamped more of his author­ity on the team, Mourinho has many won­der­ing whether he’ll take a more pos­i­tive out­look into games against his big ri­vals. That’s why this north-west derby widely re­garded as the most il­lus­tri­ous game on the English foot­ball cal­en­dar - has an­other level of in­trigue.

‘‘Do I like to go to An­field? Yes, I love it. Do I like to play against Liver­pool? Yes,’' said Mourinho.

Manch­ester City and United both have 19 points and are five clear of third-placed Tot­ten­ham.

Jose Mourinho

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