Jose Mourinho has claimed that Liverpool’s 27-year wait for the English league championship leads to “emotion” and “supportive” coverage in the media whenever the Anfield club emerge as genuine title contenders.
Mourinho’s Manchester United face Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday aiming to move to within two points of Jurgen Klopp’s team with a victory.
And while stopping short of claiming that the media wants Liverpool to end their title drought, which stretches back to 1990, due to the romance of the story, Mourinho insists that he senses greater backing for the 18-time champions when they are involved in the title race.
“They are a very good team,” Mourinho said. “But I have felt for many years, because they have not been champions for a long time, there is a great emotion around that.
“When you [media] feel Liverpool can do it, you are really supportive.
“That is a normal thing and that is the only thing I feel, but the reality is they are second in the table.
“They are five points from the top, so there is a reason for everybody to feel excited about that.”
Despite sixth-placed United sitting just 10 points adrift of Premier League leaders Chelsea, Mourinho is refusing to discuss his team’s title prospects.
With Chelsea having to face Liverpool and Arsenal over the next month, as well as a trip to reigning champions Leicester City on Saturday, Antonio Conte’s team face perhaps the sternest test yet of their title credentials after seeing their 13-game winning streak ended by defeat at Tottenham last week.
But with United due to meet their traditional rivals, Mourinho insists that the focus is solely on beating Liverpool.
“We are in the race to win the next match,” he said. “We can win against Liverpool.
“After Liverpool, if you ask me I will say we want and we can win against Stoke. That is our approach.
“I am still not looking to that [title]. Mathematically, the numbers are huge. Eighteen matches to play, 54 points to play for, so not yet.
“The last three or four matches with nine, 12 points to win, that is the moment to say what can we do for up and down. Now is too early.
“I just want to win the next match. We don’t choose competitions or opponents and no competition is more important than another.
“We just try to win matches whilst we are improving the team. We don’t look for nine victories or 10, or six or seven, unbeaten in 15 or 16. It is just the next match.
“Now, it is Liverpool, and we are going to try to win.”
In the wake of United’s EFL Cup semifinal victory over Hull City on Tuesday, Mourinho called for the Old Trafford supporters to “do better” when Liverpool visit this weekend.
And although he admits that modern day players are rarely intimidated by hostile a atmosphere, Mourinho insists a raucous support can help the home team.
“In modern football there is no more intimidating,” Mourinho said. “These guys are used to strong atmospheres.
“It cannot affect the Liverpool players. A strong atmosphere from our fans cannot intimidate the Liverpool players, but what it can do is give something more to ours.
“I don’t think it can influence Liverpool. Anfield was no influence on us, not at all. It gave something more to them and that is what Old Trafford can do to our boys. That little extra.
“Our boys, with a special support, they can have a special performance, yes.”
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