A subtle hint that manager Jose Mourinho’s tax fraud case in Spain may like upset preparations for Sunday’s monster clash against Chelsea reared its head when Manchester United brought forward the weekly pre-match media duties to Thursday instead of the usual Friday.
Mourinho is due to appear in court to answer accusations of tax fraud in Madrid on Friday after he was summoned at the end of September over allegations he defrauded the Spanish tax authorities of €3.3million between 2011 and 2012 during his time in charge of Real Madrid.
When the charges were announced in June, the 54-year-old’s representatives issued a statement denying he had been contacted by prosecutors, while insisting he had paid his taxes in full.
United were unable to offer clarification over whether Mourinho will attend the court hearing, set for 10am local time in Pozuelo de Alarcon, when contacted by Omnisport, but the club’s pre-match media duties have been moved to Thursday lunchtime – a day earlier than usual.
Mourinho suffered a chastening 4-0 defeat on his return to Stamford Bridge last season but United are two places and four points better off than Antonio Conte’s defending champions as they head into the weekend in second spot, five points back from leaders Manchester City.