Jose Mourinho certain Manchester United can handle frustration of City success
The Red Devils are the guests for what could be a major Manchester City celebration on Saturday.
Jose Mourinho is sure Manchester United will brush aside the disappointment of seeing rivals Manchester City clinch the Premier League title if the Red Devils fail to spoil the party.
Pep Guardiola’s men will wrap up the league title with more games to spare than any other side in English top-flight history if they win Saturday’s eagerly anticipated Manchester derby.
It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to seal the title on home turf against their near neighbours, but Mourinho does not believe that outcome would stick in the craw at United for too long.
“Look, I won the title (with Chelsea) against Manchester United,” he said, pointing to his first spell as manager at Stamford Bridge.
“We beat Manchester United 3-0 and we won the title at Stamford Bridge in 2005-06, precisely.
“It was not the end of the world, Manchester United didn’t finish. It’s just football.
“The only thing I can say is that we want to win, we don’t want to offer them the game.
“We want to go there, and we want to compete, and win the match if possible. That’s the only thing I can say.
“It’s normal that you want to delay the champions to (become) champions.
“We would like to beat them, we would like Spurs to beat them next week, we would like them to be champions as late as possible.
“I think Chelsea would like the same because they are still the champions, so I think they would like to be the champions until late April or the beginning of May.
“It’s normal in football but in this case obviously they are going to be champions because it’s is a very significant difference.”
Mourinho was reticent to speak about City during a terse pre-match press conference, becoming more curt and brusque as it wore on.
The United boss said that “City will be champions because they deserve to be champions” and “the table is always the reflection of the season”.
The 16-point gap to Guardiola’s men highlights just how far United are off City, who Mourinho believes will beat the record Premier League points haul of 95 set when he was at the Chelsea helm in 2004-05.
“I think they are going to beat the Chelsea record and that doesn’t make life easy for the teams coming behind,” he said.
“And it makes it very difficult even for teams with positive seasons and a positive number of points and with significant improvement from the previous season.
“In our case, I think we have eight or 10 points more than last season, more goals scored, less goals conceded – (but) even improving, Manchester City made it impossible for the others.
“So, what do you want me to say? Congratulations for the great Premier League they are doing?
“And the moment they become champions – which will be sooner or later – I will react the same way that other people reacted when I won three titles in this country.”