Be hostile but have respect, says Jose

Wayne Rooney warming up before the game against Leicester. He last started for United in the 1-3 loss to Watford four weeks ago.
Wayne Rooney warming up before the game against Leicester. He last started for United in the 1-3 loss to Watford four weeks ago.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

United manager relishing clash at a ground which brings back bad memories with Blues

LONDON • Jose Mourinho will welcome the hostile atmosphere that greets him when Manchester United play at Liverpool on Monday but he has urged fans not to taunt one another about the Hillsborough and Munich air disasters.

The Portuguese is particularly disliked by Liverpool supporters after his Chelsea side's 2-0 win at Anfield in April 2014 derailed the title challenge of Brendan Rodgers' team, which Mourinho visibly celebrated.

He also has unhappy memories of the venue after Luis Garcia's "ghost goal" in the Champions League semi-final second leg in May 2005 knocked out his Chelsea side.

"I go there to play my game, to do my work, to enjoy my work, which normally I do," Mourinho said yesterday. "I think the fans should go also to enjoy, to support their team, to be negative and create a better atmosphere for the opposition but in the limits of the safety and respect and I think that is going to happen."

Mourinho is relishing the occasion of a first career involvement in one of English football's greatest rivalries.

"I look forward, yes. I always like to play at Anfield. I won many times there, I also lost, I won big matches, lost big matches so I cannot say I like to go there because I'm always successful. I like the atmosphere, normally the characteristics of the matches," he said.

FORM CAN FLUCTUATE, CLASS IS PERMANENT

It is a situation that can happen in a long career but from my side Rooney is a world-class player and world-class players are always a threat.

JURGEN KLOPP, Liverpool manager, on Wayne Rooney's slump in form which led to him being dropped by both United and England.

"Being Man United manager means something more because we cannot compare the historical rivalry between my previous club and Liverpool. It's just a big match that can be comparable to Inter-Milan, to Madrid-Barcelona, maybe Porto-Benfica."

United are unbeaten in four matches, winning three of these, and are sixth in the Premier League, three points behind fourth-placed Liverpool.

"The season for me is not about the Anfield match and the Old Trafford match in January," Mourinho said. "The season is about many matches, many points to win, lose and targets to achieve."

The manager refused to be drawn on Liverpool's championship prospects or Jurgen Klopp's abilities. "You have to ask them. They are a good team. I've not much to say (about Klopp)."

Of Wayne Rooney, who has lost his starting berth at United and now with England, Mourinho said: "England's not my problem. His mental state - it's good, he's prepared. He's training well, he's positive."

Only Phil Jones is unavailable because of injury for United.

Liverpool manager Klopp insisted Rooney remained "world class" and a major threat to his team's prospects of a sixth straight win.

The German said yesterday: "He is 30 years old and has had more than a decent career in the Premier League. Jose Mourinho, Sam Allardyce, Gareth Southgate - they all know about his value to each team he plays in. He's a scorer, he's always a threat.

"It is a situation that can happen in a long career but from my side Rooney is a world-class player and world-class players are always a threat."

In terms of injuries, Klopp refused to rule out Adam Lallana or Georginio Wijnaldum from featuring in Monday's clash.

The pair are receiving intensive treatment on groin and hip injuries respectively and will be given every opportunity to prove their fitness for the Anfield clash.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2016, with the headline 'Be hostile but have respect, says Jose'. Print Edition | Subscribe