Manch­ester City are un­touch­able –Mour­inho

The Punch - - SPORTS -

Jose Mour­inho has said Manch­ester City are un­touch­able but avoided ques­tions about al­le­ga­tions the Premier League cham­pi­ons have cir­cum­vented fi­nan­cial fair play rules, re­ports.

The United man­ager said that af­ter three con­sec­u­tive wins, in­clud­ing an im­pres­sive vic­tory over Ju­ven­tus in mid­week, Pep Guardiola knows he is in for a “dif­fi­cult match.”

Mour­inho praised City for their work on and off the pitch af­ter a sea­son dur­ing which they won the ti­tle by a record 19 points, but he re­fused to be drawn on al­le­ga­tions pub­lished in Der spiegel that their suc­cess has been built on find­ing ways to get around FFP rules, in­clud­ing or­gan­is­ing in­flated spon­sor­ship deals.

“It is dif­fi­cult for me to an­swer be­cause I fo­cus on my job, I fo­cus on the four lines, fo­cus on foot­ball,” Mour­inho told a news con­fer­ence.

“If you want to speak about their foot­ball po­ten­tial, we can speak and foot­ball po­ten­tial starts with in­vest­ment. Af­ter that, of course, there is a qual­ity of the work, of the or­gan­i­sa­tion. I think that is un­touch­able but what is be­hind (the scenes) I can­not say. In this mo­ment I have only to think about foot­ball, and to think about foot­ball is to think about Manch­ester City as a foot­ball team.”

United were the last team to win a Premier League game at the eti­had sta­dium and, de­spite a mixed start to the sea­son, will head there full of con­fi­dence af­ter fight­ing back against bournemouth and Ju­ven­tus to win both games 2-1.

vic­tory over Guardiola’s side would cut the gap at the top to six points but Mour­inho re­fused to say the derby is a chance for his team to get back into the ti­tle race.

“If we draw (the gap) is nine points if we lose it is 12,” he said.

“I don’t think it is the way to look at the match. We have to just think about the match, it is dif­fi­cult enough by an iso­lated event. I want to play it as an iso­lated match. A dif­fi­cult match against a dif­fi­cult team but they think it is a dif­fi­cult match for them.”

Mour­inho also said that Romelu Lukaku is in line to fea­ture for United against City if he can prove his fit­ness. The striker has missed the last two games with a mus­cle prob­lem but has re­turned to train­ing and could be in­cluded in the squad for Sun­day’s derby.

He said, “If the an­swer is pos­i­tive, he’s ready but in this mo­ment I can only say he trains with the team, I don’t know his an­swer.”

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