Manchester United’s Saturday showdown with Liverpool is no more important than their forthcoming cup clashes against Sevilla and Brighton and Hove Albion, according to Jose Mourinho.
One of English football’s bitterest feuds returns to Old Trafford on Saturday, with two points separating second-placed United from Liverpool in third in the Premier League table.
Mourinho’s trophy-laden career has taken in stints with Porto, Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid – bringing him into direct contact with some of European football’s biggest rivalries.
Nevertheless, he claims he remains unbitten by the derby day bug.
Asked whether he had a greater understanding of the United-Liverpool rivalry ahead of his fourth stab at the fixture, the Portuguese told reporters: “I still don’t know because in my mentality every match is the same and I’m not very good on that culture of this match is special, this rivalry is special.
“I never looked to AC Milan as the biggest rival, I never looked at Atletico Madrid as the enemy, I never looked at Arsenal as the big rival.
“For me it is just a big match with two historical clubs, not just in England – in the world. I still don’t look to some matches as a special opponent. It is a big match because we are speaking about some big clubs.
“We have three matches now – Liverpool, Sevilla and Brighton. If you ask me if I could choose one to be the most important, I can’t choose.
“The most important is Liverpool because it is the next but the other two are knockouts. I don’t think the fans are happy if I say Liverpool is the biggest match of the season and Sevilla is not a big match.
“Everyone wants to go to Wembley for the FA Cup semi-finals. Is Brighton less important than the Liverpool match?”
Mourinho’s tactics in the drab 0-0 draw at Anfield last October drew widespread criticism but he was predictably keen to give the views of pundits the short shrift.
“Some of the guys with an opinion, they couldn’t resolve their own problem when they were managers,” he added.
“They give opinions like it looks like they have solutions for everything but it’s not like that
“But they are in a position where they can give opinions about everything.”
With a full schedule of European action to watch this week, the United boss managed to avoid delving into any build-up to the Liverpool game.
“Sometimes I read, sometimes I don’t; sometimes I listen, sometimes I don’t,” Mourinho commented.
“This week I was more focused on enjoying the Champions League and Europa League and preparing my match.”
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