Mour­inho side-steps Man City’s Fi­nan­cial Fair Play con­tro­versy

Gulf Times Sport - - FOOTBALL -

Jose Mour­inho has de­scribed the qual­ity of Manch­ester City’s work on the pitch as “un­touch­able” while re­fus­ing to get em­broiled in the con­tro­versy about al­leged Fi­nan­cial Fair Play breaches made by his ri­vals.

Mour­inho’s Manch­ester United side travel across the city to­mor­row for a Pre­mier League derby against their neigh­bours, who are two points clear at the top of the ta­ble.

How­ever, the build-up to the match has been over­shad­owed by a se­ries of Foot­ball Leaks re­ports claim­ing that Abu Dhabi-owned City ar­ti­fi­cially in­flated spon­sor­ship deals in or­der to com­ply with UEFA’s Fi­nan­cial Fair Play reg­u­la­tions.

City, who were given a £49mn fine af­ter they were found to have breached the rules in 2014, have re­sponded by say­ing that they will not com­ment on the spe­cific al­le­ga­tions.

They claim that the crit­i­cism they have faced is an “or­gan­ised and clear” at­tempt to dam­age their rep­u­ta­tion.

United man­ager Mour­inho de­clined to an­swer in depth when asked if he thought about the al­le­ga­tions against City.

“It’s dif­fi­cult for me to an­swer be­cause I fo­cus on my job. I fo­cus on the four lines, fo­cus on foot­ball,” Mour­inho told re­porters yes­ter­day.

“So 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, I can­not say. But 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 there.”

Mour­inho has in­stead pre­ferred to fo­cus on the fight­ing spirit of his own play­ers, who go into to­mor­row’s derby hav­ing won three matches in a row, com­ing from a goal be­hind to win the past two, at Bournemouth in the Pre­mier League and a mem­o­rable 2-1 win against Ju­ven­tus in the Cham­pi­ons League that rolled back the years.

United pro­duced an ar­guably even more im­pres­sive come­back vic­tory on their last visit to City in April, re­cov­er­ing from two goals down to win 3-2 on a day when Pep Guardi­ola’s side would have se­cured the ti­tle with a win.

City still won the league any­way, fin­ish­ing 19 points clear of United in sec­ond, but Mour­inho sees rea­son for op­ti­mism as his side look to im­prove on their cur­rent po­si­tion of sev­enth.

Asked if United would at­tack City, Mour­inho said: “We are go­ing to try.

“I can­not say we are go­ing to be suc­cess­ful in our mo­ti­va­tions, in our de­sire, but we played two dif­fi­cult matches away against two very good teams, Chelsea and Ju­ven­tus, and we man­aged to get good re­sults.”

Mour­inho has praised United’s abil­ity to fight back from los­ing po­si­tions, but sug­gested he would like to see them score the first goal more of­ten.

“We are not a team that gives up. We are a team that al­ways finds a way to fight back, some­times chang­ing re­sults and other times not,” he said.

“We are a team that has that col­lec­tive spirit to fight back but it is not al­ways pos­si­ble.

“So if we keep con­ced­ing goals be­fore the op­po­nent we will ar­rive at the day where we can­not come back so we have to make sure that we grow up, not just in our ap­proach, but also in our com­pact­ness in or­der to start matches well.”

Bel­gium striker Romelu Lukaku has missed United’s past two matches with a mus­cle prob­lem, but could re­turn against City.

“Lukaku is train­ing with the team this morn­ing (Fri­day). We have of course one more ses­sion to­mor­row (Satur­day), if the an­swer is pos­i­tive he is ready,” Mour­inho added.

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