Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has called on their fans to give his in-form team something extra when bitter rivals Liverpool visit Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday.
Mourinho ticked off United’s supporters for being too quiet during their League Cup semi-final first leg win over Hull City in midweek, but was quick to deny any lingering discord between himself and the supporters.
He did, however, cite the passion of the Liverpool fans in the reverse fixture at Anfield in October as providing a benchmark that the Old Trafford supporters must match.
“It’s for them that the match means something more,” the Portuguese told a news conference on Friday.
“They have to make us feel that feeling we felt at Anfield — we felt clearly for the Liverpool fans it was more than a match.
“We play at home, so it’s a huge percentage of our fans compared with Liverpool fans, so they can give us that little bit extra to make the game a bit more special for us.”
United secured a 0-0 draw at Anfield with a disciplined defensive display, but Mourinho said his team, who are currently on a nine-game winning streak, were now reaping the benefits of spending more time together.
“At that time, I had less time to work together with my players, now I have a little bit more and we know each other better,” he said.
Earlier on Friday, Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp told reporters that he and Mourinho shared an “angry” streak.
When the question was put to Mourinho, however, the Manchester United boss said he was the calmer of the two managers.
“I just think we like to win,” Mourinho added. “Probably we have some similarities and other characteristics that make us different. He wants to play the game as much as I want, I am not sure if he is so calm as I am.”
Sixth-placed United can cut the gap on second-placed Liverpool to two points with victory, and Mourinho said his team were focused on the task ahead.
“No one is nervous. Everybody wants the game. I am sure Juergen is the same,” he said.
“It’s three points, plus the emotional side of it… It’s a good rivalry. I always feel it is very good for the football clubs.”
Striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and defender Marcos Rojo are likely to be fit for the match, with Mourinho also confirming the club had rejected a bid for midfielder Memphis Depay.