Manchester United’s trip to Chelsea this weekend is just another game according to manager Jose Mourinho.
As the Portuguese boss prepares to take his current side to the home of his previous employers, Mourinho’s emotional standpoint remains level ahead of a crunch clash at Stamford Bridge.
United’s record against Chelsea away from home is a miserable one to be frank, but Mourinho is looking for victory to add to April’s masterclass that thwarted the champions elect at Old Trafford.
With just one league victory at Stamford Bridge since April 2002, and even then the Blues were reduced to nine men, the psychological advantage may favour the hosts on Sunday at 4:30pm.
Nonetheless, Mourinho is looking to build on his side’s impressive response to that Huddersfield defeat, whilst choosing to ignore whether the occasion will play on his mind after his success in South London.
“I have to admit it’s a little different but, in the end, I want to win,” said Jose boldly.
“It’s a big match because they are the champions but, by the emotional point of view, it’s just one more game,” added Mourinho.
Three straight wins without conceding, scoring five and defeating in-form Tottenham Hotspur last time out, the confidence is there for this team to hurt a Chelsea side who succumbed to a shock yet deserved 3-0 loss at AS Roma this week.
Antonio Conte’s side have also already been turned over by Burnley and Manchester City on home soil this term, with the latter’s victory helping them to establish a five point lead at the top of the table.
United can ill-afford that margin to increase, and having seen their neighbours defeat the defending champions at Stamford Bridge, the expectation is for United to follow suit.
With a two week international break set to follow this fixture, it is likely that the current injury list will remain untouched until the end of such hiatus.
However, Mourinho refused to address this issue given the length of time before the match takes place.
“We have to wait a little bit. Normally the press conference is a bit later in the week – we still have Friday and Saturday,” Mourinho told the media.
“I’m not very optimistic, but I don’t want to lie by saying there’s no chance of recovering, so I prefer just to say two more days to confirm my expectation.
“We are there, we are in. I think the next two days will be important for that decision.”
A lot has been made of United’s recent performances despite accumulating 13 victories from 16 contests this term.
Mourinho himself has faced the firing squad for his tactics, and commented on whether positive results are not enough for some people.
“Similar performances for other clubs are magic, or examples of brilliant tactics and amazing attitudes by the players.
“And for other teams the same kind of performance becomes conservative, negative, so many adjectives,” said a blunt Mourinho.
United fans would certainly take any kind of victory away at the reigning champions come Sunday teatime, aiming to break the duck of seven winless games at Stamford Bridge across all competitions.