Come­back Kings United Dare City at Eti­had


De­spite snatch­ing vic­tory from the jaws of de­feat in the cor­re­spond­ing match last sea­son and in their two most re­cent matches, Jose Mour­inho ad­mits Manch­ester United can­not keep coming from be­hind ahead of a test against ri­vals Manch­ester City to­day. Mour­inho’s side were 2-1 win­ners in Ju­ven­tus in the Cham­pi­ons League last week, end­ing their Ital­ian hosts’ un­beaten start in all com­pe­ti­tions, but have con­ceded the first goal in re­cent games sev­eral times - in­clud­ing against Chelsea, Hud­der­s­field and New­cas­tle in the Premier League.

United have picked up seven points from los­ing po­si­tions so far in the league, but their man­ager ad­mits their luck will run out at some point - and hopes it does not hap­pen in the Manch­ester derby.

Mour­inho says his Manch­ester United team are ‘grow­ing up’ but ad­mits they need to start scor­ing first in more games.

He said: “If we keep con­ced­ing goals be­fore the op­po­nent, it will ar­rive the day where we can­not come back. So, we have to make sure we grow up not just in our ap­proach - be­cause I think that is clear that the team is grow­ing up.

“But also we have to grow up in our com­pact­ness and to start matches well. Which, I have to say against Ju­ven­tus, hap­pened.”

Pep Guardi­ola will be wary of United’s re­silience al­ready, hav­ing wit­nessed his City team throw away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to their neigh­bours at the Eti­had in this fix­ture last sea­son.

He said: “Last sea­son we lost, but ev­ery game is a new his­tory and a new chap­ter. We re­alise how strong United are. When they dom­i­nate and cre­ate chances they win eas­ily, but you can have the feel­ing you are in con­trol and they can still pun­ish you.

“It’s Manch­ester United - with Liver­pool, they are one of the strong­est teams in Eng­land’s his­tory. I hope it can be a good derby and we can en­joy watch­ing it.”

Romelu Lukaku could re­turn to ac­tion for United to­day.

The 25-year-old missed the trips to Bournemouth and Ju­ven­tus with a ham­string com­plaint but will be as­sessed as the striker steps up train­ing.

City have won just two of their last eight matches against United in all com­pe­ti­tions (D2 L4) since win­ning four in a row be­tween 2013 and 2014.

United, who won 3-2 at the Eti­had last sea­son de­spite be­ing 0-2 down, are look­ing to win back to back Premier League games at the sta­dium for just the sec­ond time, also do­ing so with wins in Novem­ber 2008 and April 2010.

Premier League meet­ings be­tween City and United have been won by the away side on 17 oc­ca­sions - only As­ton Villa vs Liver­pool (19) and Ever­ton vs Man Utd (18) have been won by the vis­it­ing team more.

United have con­ceded 18 goals in their 11 Premier League games this sea­son. It took them 25 games un­til Jan­uary 31 to con­cede as many in the com­pe­ti­tion last sea­son.

City haven’t lost any of their last 53 Premier League games against sides start­ing the day out­side the top four (W44 D9 L0), since a 0-4 loss at Ever­ton in Jan­uary 2017.

City’s Raheem Ster­ling is still yet to score against Manch­ester United in the Premier League, at­tempt­ing 19 shots in 12 games with­out suc­cess; among play­ers with at least 50 Premier League goals, only Rob­bie Keane (22) has played more times against the Red Devils with­out scor­ing than Ster­ling.

City’s Ser­gio Aguero scored seven goals in his first seven Premier League games against Man Utd, but has failed to score in his last three against them since.

An­thony Mar­tial has scored in each of his last four Premier League games for Man Utd - he could be­come the sev­enth dif­fer­ent player to score in five or more in a row for the club in the com­pe­ti­tion (Ruud van Nis­tel­rooy x4, Wayne Rooney x2, Eric Can­tona, Dwight Yorke, Cris­tiano Ron­aldo and Robin van Per­sie).

This will be the 22nd meet­ing be­tween Guardi­ola and Mour­inho in all com­pe­ti­tions - the Spa­niard has won nine and lost five (D7) of the pre­vi­ous 21. He’s only lost more matches against Jur­gen Klopp (7) than Mour­inho (5) dur­ing his man­age­rial ca­reer.

Guardi­ola has never lost con­sec­u­tive home league games against a sin­gle op­po­nent in his whole man­age­rial ca­reer

Paul Pogba (left) in­spired United to a come­back vic­tory over City in April

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