Portuguese reckons the club’s mentality is improving as they travel to Etihad for crunch top four clash in the Premier League
MANCHESTER UNITED boss Jose Mourinho reckons his side’s focus on the top four has taken his rivalry with Pep Guardiola out of the occasion.
The Portuguese has gotten United on a strong run of 23 league games without defeat, while City are on a decent run in the league despite their recent 2-1 defeat to Chelsea.
United are currently just a point behind City in fifth and fourth respectively, and a win at the Etihad would see them leapfrog their rivals.
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Comparing the build-up to United’s 2-1 Premier League defeat to their rivals at Old Trafford in September, the
Mourinho said: “I see it that now it is the correct approach and the previous one wasn’t. This is about the clubs, this is about the teams, this is about the positions at the end of the season. This is not about myself and Guardiola, so now is the correct approach.”
Mourinho was also asked in an interview with Sky Sports about Ander Herrera‘s verdict that the City game is United’s biggest of the season.
The United boss added: “He says that because I always say that in relation to the next match. Before Burnley I was saying ‘this is the match of the season,’ before Swansea I will say ‘this is the match of the season.’
“So yes, it is the match of the season because it is the next one.”
But Mourinho does not think City’s season rides entirely on Thursday night’s game, with United still in the hunt for a top four place and the Europa League.
Guardiola’s City were knocked out of the FA Cup with a 2-1 extra-time defeat to Arsenal at Wembley on Sunday.
He said: “That’s not for me to make that kind of analysis. I just say that we forget the trophy we won.
“We forget for the next couple of days that we have to play the Europa League semi-finals and we have a 25 per cent chance of winning the competition, we just focus on winning in the Premier League because it is a very important competition for us.
“It doesn’t matter what happens in terms of titles we win or don’t win, it can be the first season of the next five or six or seven, it can be the first season of better years.”
And the 54-year-old also reckons he is right to criticise players he has perceived as not giving enough effort in the red shirt.
Mourinho has come out and criticised Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw this season, but compared that with the praise he has given to Marcus Rashford.
He added: “It is just common sense. When you give everything you have, I cannot demand more from you.
“With Marcus, even though he was not performing well, he give absolutely everything.
“I can never demand more from him, I can just support and say ‘better days will arrive’ but I am super happy with the approach of a super talented kid.
“I just try to be honest and direct and I don’t think even about the consequences.
“You give me everything you have I think you for that, you don’t give me everything you have I ask for more, that’s common sense.”