Greater Manchester Police have explained they were not to blame for Manchester United’s traffic issues on Tuesday following criticism from Jose Mourinho.
United arrived late for their Champions League group game against Valencia at Old Trafford, forcing kick-off to be delayed by five minutes to 8.05pm.
Manager Mourinho claimed that United were “refused” an escort by GMP, which led to their journey from the Lowry Hotel taking 45 minutes longer than usual.
But GMP insisted they are no longer obliged to provide that service for every match and that the club were aware of the change in policy.
A statement from GMP said: “All police deployments are carried out following a comprehensive risk assessment process and specifically in respect of escort team buses, are only ever undertaken on occasions when there is intelligence or information to suggest a risk of threat or harm to the players.
“GMP has previously used police vehicles to accompany a team’s coach but after a review of our core policing responsibilities it was decided that we would no longer provide this service at every fixture.
“We consulted with the relevant football clubs over a period of months to allow them adequate time to plan ahead for their journeys to the stadium.
“Every fixture is assessed individually and we will continue to work with all clubs to provide an appropriate policing response.”
The match itself saw United extend their winless run to four games with a stuttering goalless draw that keeps the pressure on Mourinho.
In his post-match press conference after the game, Mourinho explained why his team had arrived late.
He said: “We left the hotel at six o’clock, hoping that 30 minutes would be enough, which normally is. But this time the police refused to do an escort, so we come by ourselves.
“We took from the Lowry Hotel, 75 minutes. UEFA were nice, the referee was nice to allow us to start the game five minutes later because we at least need half an hour to be prepared.
“But it was not a problem with the club organisation. We anticipate everything that it could be dangerous, in the sense of arriving late, but we were informed the police refused an escort.”
United host Newcastle on Saturday in the final round of Premier League fixtures before the international break.