Jose Mourinho has shrugged off suggestions that Manchester United may struggle to cope with the atmosphere of his team’s visit to Anfield by describing his rivals’ famous old stadium as a “beautiful place.”
The United manager faces his team’s biggest test of the new campaign when they make the short journey to Merseyside for their first meeting of the season with Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Given the history of animosity between the clubs, the atmosphere at Anfield for this fixture is always among the most intense of any Premier League season.
But Mourinho has been surprised this week that former United players such as Gary Neville and Mikael Silvestre have spoken of Liverpool games as something out of the ordinary.
Mourinho said: “You know this is quite funny for me because I think when people speak about big atmospheres, it looks like we don’t like, it looks like it’s a problem for us to go to a certain place and to face a big atmosphere – this is what we want. I am surprised that you speak about that in a negative way, I am even more surprised when I hear former, big players speak about atmospheres like something sinister, something that worries.
“It motivates us, it is something that we want, it is something that if we could have every match we would have every match. You know, when Barcelona played against Las Palmas with an empty stadium, do you think the players were happy with that? Do you think Las Palmas platers wouldn’t prefer to play with Nou Camp full of people and a great atmosphere?
“We are speaking about Old Trafford, in this case, Anfield, like it’s a big problem. It’s a satisfaction, that’s what we want.”
Mourinho has been critical of United supporters on occasions since his arrival at United, bemoaning the lack of atmosphere at certain Old Trafford home games.
And, in the light of those comments, the veteran manager admits he can have no complaints if Anfield offers up one of its traditional electrifying occasions for his team’s visit.
Mourinho will visit Anfield without three front-line midfielders – Paul Pogba, Michael Carrick, and Marouane Fellaini – all of whom have been ruled out with an injury.
But having been widely criticised last season for United’s approach at Anfield almost exactly 12 months ago, when his side ground out a drab goalless draw, Mourinho reacted sarcastically when asked if his team would be more adventurous this year.
“I play with one defender and nine strikers, don’t worry about it, we play with one guy behind and then we go with a new system and we play with nine strikers, don’t worry about it,” said Mourinho
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