Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says Saturday’s English Premier League clash against Arsenal is not a must-win game despite his side already playing second fiddle to city rivals Manchester City in the title race.
The Red Devils sit in second position, eight points adrift of leaders Manchester City.
A win will see them put pressure on the Citizens who will host West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium 24 hours later.
“I play a game at a time. I play a game at a time and is the way to do it, is the way to do it,” Mourinho stated during his pre-match conference on Friday.
“Yesterday I was watching an interesting movie, Borg vs McEnroe, and Borg’s coach was telling him that all the time – ‘one point at a time, think about just one point’.
“I tell my players to just think about the game. It’s just the game, it’s Arsenal, we don’t think about how many points we are behind, it’s just Arsenal.
“It’s difficult enough for us to be focused on other things, so just focus on this.”
The Portuguese has been criticised for adopting a conservative approach in big games but is unperturbed by calls for him to adopt a more attacking play.
“It depends with what you think about risk, I think in the beginning of football, the guy who decides to say defenders, attackers, this guy was bad, because everybody has to defend and attack, especially in modern football,” he added.
“So for me you can say what you want, my goalkeeper needs to know what to do when his team has the ball, how to attack, and my striker needs to know how to defend and what to do. This is simple, for me it’s simple.
“I think I will always try to play the best possible team, even the CL match was a must win match I think I would forget it, I would go for the game one game at a time and I would go for the most important game now, is tomorrow and is difficult enough for you to be not focused and not be thinking about other things.”
United will be without Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Marouane Fellaini for the game. There is also doubt about Nemanja Matic who is not hundred percent fit game for the game.
“I hope he (Matic) can but I cannot guarantee he is selected to go, let’s see the feeling before the match, let’s see the warm up, I hope he can, I want to, he wants to, but I cannot guarantee, and Fellaini is not travelling with the team.”