Press Conference: Mourinho gives all clear on injuries and gets ready for Manchester derby

Jose Mourinho

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho sat down with the media ahead of the Premier League clash with Manchester City at Old Trafford at lunch time on Saturday. This will be the biggest match of the new season for both clubs and may end with one of the clubs losing their 100% record of the season so far. United and City have both won all three league matches this season, winning nine points out of nine. City currently tops the league, on goal difference. Chelsea has also started their season with the same record as both Manchester clubs. In the run-up to this match, Mourinho looked to have been suffering an injury dilemma with Marouane Fellaini having a back injury, Henrikh Mkhitaryan suffering an injury on international duty and Luke Shaw withdrawing from the England squad last weekend. All three seem to have recovered with Fellaini playing for Belgium in their FIFA World Cup qualifier earlier in the week. Here are the main points from the press conference.

Jose Mourinho on having no injuries ahead of the Manchester derby with the manager sweating on the fitness of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Luke Shaw and Marouane Fellaini:

“I’m not saying Micki is ready to play 90 minutes but he is ready to help us. There are no injuries. Everybody is available. It’s not the same as if we were here all week and working, resting and not travelling, but there are no injuries and everybody has returned safely and on time for at least one training session. Everybody is ready and wants to play of course.”

Mourinho giving more information on his ‘fully fit’ squad:

“At this moment, we have a completely fit squad, which, with the problems an international break always gives – players coming on different days, players with problems – is good, because nobody is really injured or out of the game. We are fine, we are ready, we are waiting.”

Mourinho on the ‘normal’ match his side will play against Manchester City at Old Trafford on Saturday:

“I am normal. For us, it is a game and for me especially. We are playing to try and win the title. When you do this there is no match more important than another one when it comes to this stage of the season.”

Mourinho on the Manchester derby:

“I know what a derby means for everyone; I’ve played derbies everywhere, in every country, in so many cities. I always want to be in the position of emotional control because for me it is just a game against a very good opponent. If you want to be successful and you want to win the game then we have to be at the top of our qualities.”

Mourinho gives praise in the direction of Manchester City:

“Since the new owners have arrived, Manchester City have been a very good team. They have had very good managers and have another very good manager now. They’ve always had very good players and, again, have very good players now, so they are what they are since I returned to England in 2013. They are a title contender and you have to respect them that way.”

Mourinho on Zlatan Ibrahimovic:

“Zlatan is a phenomenal player who arrives at 34 and still wants more for his career. He didn’t want the Chinese money or the American US dollars; he wanted the most difficult place to play and win. Zlatan is more about him than us. Our contribution to him, in motivational terms, is zero. This is just his nature.”

Mourinho on the absence of Sergio Aguero who was banned for three matches for violent conduct:

“It changes because it is more difficult. When Aguero is available we know that he plays, we know their formation and their dynamics – nobody has doubts. If he is ready, he will play. But now he doesn’t play, they have an amazing reach squad in terms of options and there are many things he could do.”

Mourinho on the options Pep Guardiola has to fill the void left by Aguero:

“He could decide to play with Iheanacho or Sterling. He could decide to play with Silva as a fake no.9 between the lines. It is clear that they have many options. That for us, in the preparation of the game, makes us have to go step-by-step with every situation because we are trying to reduce the unpredictability of the game. To try to do this now is more difficult.”

Mourinho on the reasons for Manchester United to be happy ahead of the Manchester derby:

“We have a good family group; we’re together and enjoy the responsibility to work for a club with a history like this. When you arrive at a club like Manchester United, you cannot have defensive words. You have to go direct to the target and say that we want to win the title.”

Manchester United head into the Manchester derby in great form; winning all four of their competitive matches this season, obtaining maximum points so far in the league, having players that have uplifted the squad and increased the potential of the team and suffering no major injuries at this time. Prior to today’s presser, United was sweating on the fitness of both Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Luke Shaw who were injured on international duty and withdrew from the squad respectively. Marouane Fellaini was also an early absentee after receiving a back injury against Hull City almost a fortnight ago, but he played for Belgium earlier in the week. Mourinho has confirmed that he has a fully fit squad ahead of the derby, which will uplift the squad and supporters even more. United have a good record against City; losing once in the last four meetings in the Premier League, winning twice and drawing once. This season could extend that record considerably with United looking like a much better team both on paper and on the pitch.

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