Mourinho urges his men to be focused

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho applauds fans after his team's match with Stoke City on Jan 15, 2018.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho applauds fans after his team's match with Stoke City on Jan 15, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Jose Mourinho insisted the pending signing of Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez must not distract from Manchester United's league campaign when they visit Burnley today.

Victory for Mourinho's team at Turf Moor would cut leaders Manchester City's advantage at the top of the Premier League to nine points before City play later in the day against Newcastle.

"There is nothing new," the United manager told reporters yesterday regarding Sanchez's possible move.

"I think clearly everybody knows that we are there. There is no point in trying to hide or deny but it is not done at all... and with a match tomorrow I want to switch off and focus on the most important thing, which is the match."

Sanchez's proposed move to Old Trafford would cost the club a reported £180 million (S$330.6 million) when fees and salaries are factored in and involves midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan moving in the opposite direction.

It is understood that Sanchez has agreed to United's offer but Mkhitaryan still has to complete negotiations with Arsenal.

Mourinho will be without the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Eric Bailly and Daley Blind today but Ashley Young returns from a three-game suspension.

Young, however, might not go straight back into the starting line-up, with Mourinho revealing he is pleased with how much left-back Luke Shaw has improved.

Shaw looked set for an Old Trafford exit this month after falling out of favour with Mourinho last year, but the manager said yesterday: "I can say that in this moment I don't see many left-backs better than this Luke Shaw."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2018, with the headline 'Mourinho urges his men to be focused'. Print Edition | Subscribe