United boss says supporters will play a big role on Sunday
by Simon Williams at Old Trafford
Jose Mourinho has invited Manchester United fans to find their voice for the visit of bitter rivals Liverpool to Old Trafford on Sunday.
The United manager was speaking after his side’s 2-0 first-leg victory over Hull City in the League Cup on Tuesday night thanks to second-half goals from Juan Mata and substitute Marouane Fellaini.
But after watching his side dominate possession but squander chances in a lacklustre display against a depleted Tigers side, Mourinho insisted that he, the players and the supporters must raise their game if they are to beat Jurgen Klopp’s side.
He said: “I didn’t do my job well to prepare the players for the game [against Hull], maybe I should bring more tension to the dynamic that prepares the game.
“The players have to improve, I have to improve and I’m sorry to say that I think the fans also have to improve for a big match on Sunday. Our performances were enough to win but for Sunday we all have to improve.
“I always think that we are responsible for the fans’ participation in the game. It’s our responsibility. If we play very well, if we play very enthusiastic, the fans come to the pitch and they play with us.
“When we didn’t so play well, we didn’t play with so much emotion and intensity it’s normal that the fans relax a little bit.
“We have amazing fans, I can only say fantastic things about them, especially because you see the real fans when the moment is not good and when the moment was not good we had amazing fans behind us, pushing us and supporting us.
“But what I feel is that Sunday is a special match for us, a special match for Manchester United fans. So my invitation is don’t come to the theatre, come to play, play with us.”
The victory over Hull was United’s ninth in a row — their best run since winning 11 in a row between January and February 2009 when they went on to win a Premier League and League Cup under Alex Ferguson.
But Mourinho insisted that his players must improve if they are to extend their current streak.
“Nine victories is obviously very important, six in the Premier League so let’s try 10, seven in the Premier League,” said the Portuguese.
“But I think we all have to improve [on our performance against Hull] if we want that.”