Football: Anfield roar holds little fear for the Red Devils

Jose Mourinho believes Manchester United will thrive in the "huge animosity" of Anfield because his players will relish the atmosphere.
Jose Mourinho believes Manchester United will thrive in the "huge animosity" of Anfield because his players will relish the atmosphere.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Jose Mourinho believes Manchester United will thrive in the "huge animosity" of Anfield today because his players will relish the atmosphere.

United take on Liverpool in the early Premier League kick-off conscious the greeting from the home fans will be hostile. Yet, United manager Mourinho is confident this can help his side.

"You know this is quite funny for me because I think when people speak about big atmospheres, it looks like we don't like it," the Portuguese said in his pre-match conference yesterday.

"It looks like it's a problem for us to go to a certain place and to face a big atmosphere - but this is what we want.

"I am surprised that you speak about that in a negative way, I am even more surprised when I hear former, big players speak about atmospheres like something sinister, something that worries.

"It motivates us, it is something that we want, it is something that if we could have every match, we would have every match."

Mourinho used the recent Spanish LaLiga game at the Nou Camp that was staged behind closed doors to reiterate his point.

"You know, when Barcelona played against Las Palmas with an empty stadium, do you think the players were happy with that?" said the 54-year-old.

BRING ON THE 12TH MAN

It motivates us, it is something that we want, it is something that if we could have every match, we would have every match.

JOSE MOURINHO, Manchester United manager, believes the baying Liverpool crowd will galvanise his players .

"Do you think Las Palmas players wouldn't prefer to play with Nou Camp full of people and a great atmosphere? We are speaking about Old Trafford, in this case Anfield, like it's a big problem.

"It's a satisfaction, that's what we want. We know that the fans have huge animosity against United historically, but this is what we want so we are very happy to have one more opportunity in our careers to play in beautiful conditions. It's beautiful to play at Anfield."

United are second to Manchester City in the Premier League table on goal difference.

And this will be the first game for Mourinho's side against a top-six opponent this season, while arch-rivals City have already recorded victories over Liverpool and champions Chelsea.

Often accused of parking the bus in big games, Mourinho was in a defiant mood.

"Yeah, I'll play with one defender and nine strikers, don't worry about it, that's for sure," he said in jest.

"One guy behind, and we go with a new system. We go with an evolution... and we play with nine strikers, don't worry about it."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2017, with the headline 'Anfield roar holds little fear for the Red Devils'. Print Edition | Subscribe