LONDON • Jose Mourinho is playing down his return to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, insisting it is "not a big thing" to go back to the club where he won three Premier League titles.
The Manchester United manager acknowledged that the league clash is a "big match" but suggested that from a personal standpoint, it is just another game.
United were embarrassed 4-0 at Chelsea last year, when Mourinho was critical of Blues manager Antonio Conte's celebrations.
"In four or five years, people probably won't remember I was Chelsea manager," the Portuguese, the most successful coach in Chelsea's history, told a press conference.
"It's a big match but not because of that. It's because they are champions and we are United.
"It isn't a big thing. It is normal. It is football life. One day you are in one club, the next day you are in another club. It is one of these matches between the top teams in the country but by the emotional point of view, it is just a game."
ROLE REVERSAL IS NORMAL
In four or five years, people probably won't remember I was Chelsea manager... It isn't a big thing. It is normal. It is football life. One day you are in one club, the next day you are in another club.
JOSE MOURINHO, playing down the prospect of the game against his old side.
His press conference was brought forward a day because the former Real Madrid manager has to appear in a Madrid court for his tax fraud case today.
But he insisted that United's preparations would not be affected even though he has rescheduled training to take place in the afternoon, reported the Manchester Evening News.
Mourinho also claimed United are unfairly deprived of the praise they deserve while his rivals are lauded for producing similar displays with comparable tactics.
The 54-year-old believes his side's performances are seen in an unflattering light amid accusations of defensiveness and cautiousness. He was criticised for his approach in a 0-0 draw with Liverpool when United recorded one shot on target but pointed out that his side defeated Tottenham 1-0, whereas others have been eviscerated by Mauricio Pochettino's team.
"It is a different way of analysing things for this reason or that reason," he said. "Similar performances for some clubs are magic, are examples of brilliant tactics and amazing attitude but from other players and other teams the same kind of performance becomes conservative, becomes negative, becomes so many adjectives.
"Just as an example, Tottenham beat Liverpool 4-1, Tottenham beat Real Madrid 3-1 and Tottenham didn't score against Manchester United so my players deserve at least a little bit of credit."