Jose Mourinho will expect his Manchester United team to delay Man City’s title celebrations when he travels to Etihad Stadium.
Pep Guardiola’s men were trounced midweek by Liverpool in the Champions League and Mourinho’s aim will be to deal a blow to Man City’s confidence.
Jose Mourinho has confirmed that United will be without goalkeeper Sergio Romero for the Manchester derby. 17-year-old Matej Kovar has been brought into first-team training.
“Everybody is coming back but Sergio [Romero] is injured,” said Mourinho (as quoted by the Mirror)
Daley Blind is also back in contention, while Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Ander Herrera have also returned to full fitness.
City can seal the title with a victory but Mourinho is more concerned with his team’s situation and is desperate to finish second, ahead of Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea.
“My motivation is to finish second,” Mourinho told in his pre-match presser, as quoted by Manchester United’s official website.
“I still have the motivation to finish [in the] top four, because mathematically it is not done. It is a good distance but not mathematically done.
“So that’s the first objective but, after that, I don’t hide that in practical terms and next season, especially next season to finish second, third or fourth is exactly the same, because you don’t win the title, but you qualify directly to the Champions League group phase. However, I prefer to finish third not fourth and I prefer to finish second not third and, because we are in the second position for many, many, many, many months.
“Obviously, it’s our objective to fight, to fight for that and for that we need points, so my objective for tomorrow is to try to have the points that can help us to finish second.”
Our Portuguese tactician knows the importance of the derby but as usual, was keen to stress that it is just another game for United.
“In the end, the points are the most important thing,” he added.
“In the end, it’s always a match of three points and not a match of seven, eight or nine points but there is also a little bit of the emotional difference in relation to other matches. But, in my case, I always try to play every match with the same mentality and responsibility and not try to make a derby an El Classico as we used to call it in Portugal and Spain – a special match.”
The Red Devils surprised the entire football fraternity when they signed Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal in January. Sanchez has so far failed to live up to the expectations but scored last weekend in the 2-0 win over Swansea City.
Asked if United’s capture of the Chilean proved we can still compete with City for the best players in the market, Mourinho responded:
“Are we? That’s your opinion. ‘It’s your opinion. Did they spend money in January? Did they?
“Do you know that [City were in for Sanchez]? Can you confirm that? I don’t know, I have no idea if they were interested or not, I’ve no idea.”
It will be a nightmare to see City win the derby and secure the title in front of us. Mourinho knows that and will be eager to delay the inevitable. Let’s hope we succeed in getting the bragging rights.