Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has said Saturday’s Premier League clash against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium is not more important than other games he has been involved in.
Leaders City would be crowned Premier League champions for this season if they beat United in the Manchester derby.
But Mourinho stated in his press conference on Friday his approach to every game is the same.
“It’s always the same question and always the same answer,” he said. “In the end, the points are the most important thing. In the end, it’s always a match of three points and not a match of seven, eight or nine points but there is also a little bit of the emotional difference in relation to other matches.
“But in my case, I always try to play every match with the same mentality and responsibility and not try to make a derby an El Clásico or whatever we used to call it in Portugal and Spain – a special match.”
Mourinho stated he does not have an idea on how the game on Saturday will pan out despite the huge importance attached to it.
“I don’t know [what will be decisive]. The more I play big matches – the more I can relate to big matches, derbies, Clásicos , decisions – the more difficult it is for me to answer the question because sometimes you think this is the game you are expecting it to be and the game ends up being completely different, so honestly I don’t know.”
He said United’s current points tally (68) is enough to put them in the mix for a title challenge but they have been hampered due to City’s huge points haul (84).
The Portuguese added: “Obviously you see the number of points that we have and it’s easy to go to the books and to understand that with the number of points we have, we would normally be in the fight for the title and we are not, because City has a very good number of points that makes very, very difficult for the second [placed team] to be fighting for the title, which we are not in this moment.”
And on the death of former Manchester United player Ray Wilkins who died on Tuesday due to cardiac arrest, the former Chelsea manager said: “Obviously sad news. I had some contact with Ray through his connection with Chelsea and I met him a few times and I always had a positive relationship with him, so obviously I feel sad. During this difficult process with him passing away, I managed to have contact with his family through his son, so I know exactly how they feel about their father and obviously I feel sorry.
“Probably because of my age and because of my generation, I met Ray the player and then obviously he was a coach and a football man. He was a brilliant player in a great generation of very good English players and then he was a Chelsea man for many years, connected with the coaching staff and then as an opponent, because I think the last time he was coaching was with Aston Villa, if I’m not wrong. I always had a positive relationship with him and finally as a pundit, I always felt he was an honest man. I could agree with him the majority of times – not always, obviously, but I always looked at him as an honest man and that’s the most important thing.”