No Fel­laini, no cry for Jose’s re­mod­elled Reds

Mour­inho un­wor­ried by his in­jury-hit mid­field as Liver­pool clash looms

Sport360 - - News Football - By Ed­ward James @Sport360 edi­to­rial@sport360.com

Jose Mour­inho says his Manchester United team are bet­ter than they were last year, play­ing down in­jury con­cerns as he pre­pares for a block­buster Pre­mier League clash against Liver­pool.

High-fly­ing United travel to face their fierce ri­vals at An­field on Saturday look­ing to main­tain a rich vein of form that leaves them trail­ing Manchester City only on goal dif­fer­ence at the top of the ta­ble.

Mour­inho had a mixed first sea­son at Old Traf­ford, fin­ish­ing a dis­ap­point­ing sixth in the League but win­ning the Europa League and League Cup.

But sum­mer sign­ings Romelu Lukaku and Ne­manja Matic have im­pressed in the early weeks of the sea­son, en­abling United to keep pace with free-scor­ing City.

“I think we are a bet­ter team (than we were),” Mour­inho told Sky Sports. “You can say, like some peo­ple do, we have not played one of the top five teams but last sea­son we did not beat West Ham at home, last sea­son we did not beat Ever­ton at home or Southamp­ton away.

“I think it would be un­fair to say (Romelu) Lukaku and (Ne­manja) Matic did not make an im­pact. We have to ad­mit that and give them what they de­serve.

“But also the team give Matic and Lukaku the con­di­tions to ar­rive the way they have.

“Glob­ally we are a bet­ter team. Does that mean we are going to be as suc­cess­ful as last sea­son, win­ning two ti­tles? I don’t know. But we are bet­ter.”

Mour­inho, al­ready with­out Paul Pogba, shrugged off an­other mid­field loss in Marouane Fel­laini, who suf­fered a knee in­jury while on in­ter­na­tional duty for Bel­gium.

Asked about the Fel­laini in­jury, Mour­inho added: “No blow, no prob­lem. We don’t cry with in­juries. We may cry with the process that leads to the in­juries but we don’t cry with the in­juries. We just trust the play­ers that are going to play.”

Mour­inho said he was rel­ish­ing the clash with Jur­gen Klopp’s Liver­pool, who have strug­gled in re­cent weeks and are sev­enth in the ta­ble and have in­jury prob­lems of their own, with for­ward Sa­dio Mane out for up to six weeks with a ham­string in­jury.

“I like to play against the best teams, I like to play against the best clubs and I like to play at the best sta­di­ums – the sta­di­ums with more his­tory,” said Mour­inho. “At An­field I’ve had great mo­ments and I’ve had bad mo­ments. They have had hap­pi­ness against me, they have had very sad mo­ments against me.

“(Now) if they re­spect me as much as I re­spect them, we are going to have an­other one of those matches.”

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