Jose Mourinho spoke exclusively to us before his press conference on Monday to discuss all things Juventus, including Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to the Theatre of Dreams this evening…
The United fans I’ve spoken to who went to the Bridge and watched it in Manchester were so proud of the team at the weekend. Now you’ve had a few days to reflect on it, how do you feel?
“I was also proud of the boys and I think the feeling is positive. I think everybody is still a little bit sad with the result. Normally, a draw at Stamford Bridge is a good result for us. It was a bad result and that still lives with us but we are positive because we played really well, we know that and we feel that it. That is positive for a big match like the Juventus one.”
Mourinho began with two big answersVideo
All the fans are right behind you against Juventus – how special a night could it be at Old Trafford in the Champions League?
“No, it’s opponents of this level of football that you want, to be in the Champions League. You cannot be in the Champions League and expect not to play and not to enjoy these opponents. I think they are always a candidate and, this season, they are more than a candidate. So it’s fantastic for us. I said before the Chelsea game that Chelsea-Juventus in three days, for some, is a nightmare. For me, it’s not a nightmare, it’s just where I want to be and I thought I was quite successful in giving this feeling to the boys before the Chelsea match. I think it’s easier now to give the same feeling for this match and we have to enjoy it. Nobody can kill our desire to play that game and try to win.
You’ve had great battles with Juventus – what’s it like to take on the most famous clubs in the world?
“It’s amazing. I only played against Juventus with Inter [Milan] – never with my other clubs. Not Chelsea, not Porto, not Real. So this is the first time I play them outside of the league context and in European competition. In Italy, it was more than a match because everybody knows the history between Inter and Juventus and that rivalry. In this case, it’s just rivals in the sense of big clubs in Europe. In this moment, Juventus are with different footballistic power but, as I’m saying, nobody can stop us going into the game and to think we can win.”
Ready for Juve Gallery
See who was pictured training ahead of Juventus visiting Old Trafford.
There are a lot of sub-plots to the game, such as Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford with Juventus. What do you make of that?
“He came back with me in Real Madrid [in 2013]. It was a knockout match [in the last-16 stage], and I know how much he loves Manchester United. I know that but I also know how much he wanted to win here and score against Manchester United and win against Manchester United, because he did that with Real. He scored and they won. So, tomorrow, more of the same. The fans will show the respect he deserves. He will show that to the fans too. I know that he really loves the club but when the ball starts rolling, he wants to score and he wants to win.”
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