Big Match

Football: Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho vows not to 'lose control'

Jose Mourinho, seen keeping a watchful eye on proceedings in a game earlier this month, is promising to rein in his celebrations if Manchester United win at Stamford Bridge, home of his former team Chelsea. The Portuguese manager has left London empt
Jose Mourinho, seen keeping a watchful eye on proceedings in a game earlier this month, is promising to rein in his celebrations if Manchester United win at Stamford Bridge, home of his former team Chelsea. The Portuguese manager has left London empty-handed on three previous visits with United.PHOTO: REUTERS

Mourinho promises to respect former team Chelsea, avoids touchline ban at the Bridge

LONDON • Jose Mourinho said yesterday that he would not gloat if Manchester United beat Chelsea away today because he has too much respect for his former club.

When United lost 4-0 at Chelsea two years ago, then Blues manager Antonio Conte celebrated particularly demonstratively, to the United boss' annoyance.

Although Mourinho did not reference the Conte incident, the embattled Portuguese told reporters that he would rein in his emotions at the home of some of his greatest triumphs, even though a win would provide some much-needed respite.

"Would I celebrate like crazy if my team scored a goal or claimed victory at Stamford Bridge? I don't think so," he said, before promising to be on his best behaviour.

"To do that, I (would have to) completely lose my emotional control, which is not easy. Apart from that, it is another match for me.

"I would try to control myself and to respect the stadium and the supporters that were my supporters and stadium for many years."

While Mourinho lifted three Premier League titles in two successful spells in charge of Chelsea, he has since lost all three of his previous visits to London as the Red Devils manager without scoring a goal.

RESPECT IS KEY

Would I celebrate like crazy if my team scored a goal or claimed victory at Stamford Bridge? I don't think so... I would try to control myself and to respect the stadium and the supporters that were my supporters and stadium for many years.

JOSE MOURINHO, Manchester United manager, on how he still has a soft spot for Chelsea fans.

However, he is hoping to arrest that poor run of form and in the process, inflict the Blues' first defeat of the season.

The visitors are in desperate need of three points with joint-league leaders Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool ahead by seven points after just eight games.

And the good feeling from United's dramatic 3-2 win over Newcastle before the international break has not yet dissipated, with his players "happy and focused".

"I want to do well for my team, players, the supporters - I am 100 per cent United tomorrow, and no more than respect for the stadium and the fans," Mourinho added.

The 55-year-old's insistence on not letting the occasion get to him comes at the end of a week during which he was charged by the Football Association following comments he made towards a TV camera after the Newcastle victory.

He was charged with using "abusive, insulting or improper language", after appearing to mouth words at a camera in his native tongue.

Even though he was never in danger of being suspended for the trip today, United have requested an extension for his official response and the FA has duly allowed him until Wednesday to do so.

When asked whether he felt he was being victimised by English football's governing body, Mourinho insinuated his counterparts were better treated.

"If I answer your question, I probably have another process because I cannot imply bias, so my answer is no answer," he said.

Standing in the way of a United win today is likely to be Chelsea forward Eden Hazard, whom manager Maurizio Sarri yesterday urged to stay at the club as it was the best platform for him to become the best footballer in the world.

Hazard, whose contract expires in June 2020, has made no secret of his desire to win the Ballon d'Or and to play for Spanish giants Real Madrid.

"It will be very important for us if he remains with us. He can win everything without playing in Spain," the Italian said of the league's top scorer with seven goals so far.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

CHELSEA V MAN UNITED

Singtel TV Ch102 & StarHub Ch227, 7.30pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2018, with the headline 'I won't 'lose control''. Print Edition | Subscribe