Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says he is ready for this weekend’s ‘special’ derby.
United and City face off for the first time this season, and the first time since the bombing at Manchester Arena in May, and the United boss says that even though he admittedly isn’t in touch with the man on the street, the match will have a poignancy.
“I live a little bit isolated from society, I don’t feel it so much,” he said. “I really don’t have that communication but I don’t need that to know a derby is something special for the people. For us, it’s three points but for the people born in the city and feeling the colours in that good, positive rivalry, it is a special match. These are the beautiful things that football can do. We could feel in that period (after the attack) that the clubs were ready to work together for the city. It would be really sad if that was not the case.
“Now this is a football match. An important football match, where I wish everything goes well in relation to the fans. If taken in the right way, the derby’s a beautiful thing. Same city, different colours, friends support different colours, even under the same roof some families disagree on the passion of the colours.I hope before the game you have a city full of colour, red and blue, and after the game, the same.”
Mourinho offered no real clues about selection, other than to confirm Phil Jones was among those passed fit, though he did stress he felt his team had come on in the last year. “We are a better team than last year, no doubts about it. I think City is also a better team than last season,” he said. “I think we can (win the title) but I think other teams can be champions… Football is unpredictable. As a manager, I can try to define a game plan, to work in a direction but football is unpredictable. We don’t know what can happen, there are so many things that are out of control that can totally transform the direction of the game. I wouldn’t risk saying what game we are going to have.”
At the time of writing, there were suggestions that the weather could cause a postponement.