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Jose Mourinho at the Etihad Stadium.

Your exclusive pre-derby Q&A with Jose Mourinho

The first Manchester derby of the season is upon us, with United taking on City at the Etihad Stadium from 16:30 GMT this afternoon. Read on for the manager's thoughts on today's game...

Does the win in Turin this week represent more than three points for you and your squad?
“Not yet. We need to qualify to the next round, which was the initial objective. And with the new format of the Champions League, with the new format of the coefficients and the groups - we got in a very difficult group, as everybody knows - and with our two bad results at home - drawing with Valencia, losing to Juve - we put ourselves in a very difficult situation. Now, with this victory, we are, of course, much better, but we need to make - I don't know - 10 or 11 points. So in this moment it doesn't mean a lot. We want to qualify.”
 
The last time Juventus lost a Champions League group game was 2009, and they haven't been beaten all season. Was it the perfect game plan?
“It's easy for me to say it was the perfect game plan. But I cannot say that the game plan was to score in minute 89! That was not the plan at all. The plan was to play well in a very compact way, very confident, not afraid to play - that was the plan. And, of course, in the second half when we are losing 1-0 we change the direction of our game. We knew what Fellaini, Rashford and Mata would bring to the team and then you can say we were happy.”

Jose: How we'll approach the derbyVideo

How important is it to have players like that you can bring off the bench and just change a game?
“I told that in the home game against Juventus. I didn't make any changes - [there were] no attacking players on the bench. It was a really difficult moment for us. No Alexis, no Fellaini. Everybody was playing and I had no changes to do. A rich bench normally means points, and against Juventus [away] we had that bench that could help us to change the game.”
 
Has this been a more or less perfect week leading into the derby, with two wins?
“Perfect week? A perfect week would be a few days off now and enjoy the Juventus result, but we knew [we had] three difficult matches, all of them away from home - a very difficult week for us. Now we did two-thirds of it and we still have one very difficult match to play.”
You've shown such a never-say-die attitude so much over the last few weeks. What do you put that down to?
“It's the collective personality. I don't go in the direction of individual personalities; I don't go in the direction of 'I try to create this on my players'. I think it's a collective feeling that everybody is having. It probably comes with the Manchester United DNA. That is something that probably the shirts keep and when you wear it, you have it. So even when the moment is difficult, even when the team is not playing very well - which is not the case, because recently our results are a consequence of playing really well - but I think it's something that's in this group's DNA. The boys are friends, the boys are proud and when things are not going well, they never say: 'The game is over'.”
 
What sort of game are you expecting on Sunday?
“I don't know. The last two seasons we went there twice and we drew and we won. But it doesn't matter the result; both matches they were really difficult. We know that they are a very good team. When we speak about a bench - and we just spoke a couple of minutes ago [about United's substitute options] - their bench is phenomenal; they have lots of options to change matches if they can. I think they have everything; they are a very difficult team for us. But I think they know - not just because of the recent results against us, but also because they know the kind of team we are - I think they also know that they have a difficult game.”
Jose Mourinho on his side's fighting spirit says

"It comes with the Manchester United DNA. It's something that probably the shirts keep, and when you wear it, you have it. Even when the moment is difficult, it's something that's in this group's DNA."

Any update on injuries?
“No new injuries, so from Juventus we don't bring important injuries. We have touches, but I don't think any player that was available for Juventus will be out, and we have a chance for Lukaku to be back.”
 
Finally, I just wanted to ask you about Anthony Martial getting a recall to the French side. His form over the last few weeks has been phenomenal - what's your secret been with him? What do you put it down to?
“I never gave up. I never gave up my feelings of the right way for him. Even if he had to go through difficult moments, I knew that for him to become a really top player he needed to go over some barriers that I put for him alongside the road, and it's up to his talent, because he has phenomenal talent. It was just a question of him to understand what a top player is, because there is a big difference between a top talent and a top player.”
 
 
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