Jose Mourinho has told his Manchester United players to “stay at home” if they cannot handle the pressure of playing at Old Trafford.
United have won just three of their nine home games in all competitions this season, including a dire 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace on Saturday, but can book their place in the knockout phase of the Champions League with a win when Young Boys visit on Tuesday night.
“If you feel pressure, stay at home — and when I say home I don’t say stadium home, I say home home and watch on TV,” Mourinho told a news conference. “When the people come to support, come on. I don’t feel pressure to play at home.
“I think it would be a lack of respect to the stadium and fans to say we prefer to play away from home, I totally refuse to say that.
“Do I prefer to play Young Boys here or go to Bern? I would say immediately to play at home. Always.”
United have had problems getting to their home Champions League games on time this season and were hit with a UEFA fine after kickoff against Valencia was delayed by five minutes. Traffic problems in Manchester also delayed the team’s arrival at Old Trafford ahead of the defeat to Juventus. Mourinho was forced to walk the last half mile and the 55-year-old insists he is prepared to do the same again.
“We decide to change hotel so we are not coming from Manchester city centre, we are going to stay in hotel just a few metres away,” said Mourinho. “The information I have from the club and club contacts with the police is that things are going to be much better than the last time, but if it isn’t better I walk.”
Mourinho will be without Victor Lindelof against Young Boys, who are 16 points clear in the Swiss championship, after the defender picked up a thigh injury against Palace. The Swede will undergo a scan on Tuesday and is expected to be out for around a month.
“Victor [has] a proper injury that will keep him out for a while,” said Mourinho. “[Phil] Jones, [Chris] Smalling and [Eric] Bailly are the three [defenders] we have. He has a muscular problem and muscular problem takes time.
“I would say if we have him for the Christmas period where we need, if possible, every player to be available for that difficult period until the Newcastle match on Jan. 2. If we can have Victor available for that period, that will be good.”
Meanwhile, Luke Shaw assured supporters the players are committed to helping the club recover from their poor start to the season after Mourinho accused the dressing room of lacking heart and desire after Saturday’s draw.
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