Exclusive Q&A: Mourinho on Spurs, Wembley & our fans
Jose Mourinho has spoken exclusively to MUTV’s Stewart Gardner, ahead of Manchester United taking on Tottenham Hotspur in the Emirates FA Cup semi-final at Wembley Stadium.
You’re preparing for the semi-final in London using Fulham’s facilities. What have the facilities been like? Have you been happy with what you have seen in the last day or two?
“First of all, to thank them because they let us use the best facilities. Yesterday [Thursday] they let us use the stadium Craven Cottage and today [Friday] I asked for a pitch on the training ground and [Slavisa] Jokanovic, the manager, gave me their best pitch so I have to thank Fulham and Joka for that. I think it’s just good for us after the Bournemouth game, instead of travelling back to Manchester, get the plane, then go back home, come back the next day, train to London again. But we just came here, we’re here together, training quietly, preparing for the game the best we can.”
“I think it’s good because we don’t like to lose matches and we don’t like to lose two in a row, so when you lose one and win the next one, at least you break that negative dynamic, so it was good. But it was also good from the mental point of view because our target of [finishing in the] top four is really, really close and that result gave us better conditions to try to finish the second, which is the objective.”
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“My view is that in the cups, sometimes you play at home and sometimes you play away. I think we have to look at it in the same way that we do when we had Derby at Old Trafford, Brighton at Old Trafford and Huddersfield away. Of course, it’s an away match but it’s a cup semi-final and we want to win.”
I suppose the big difference from the league game here in January is that you didn’t have 35,000 to 40,000 travelling United fans, which must make a big difference to the atmosphere…
“If the 30,000 fans are similar to the 1,000 or 2,000 that we have at every away match, then we will be more than at home. It depends on their profile, but it also depends on us, it also depends on the team and the way we perform, the way we fight, the way we commit to every second of the game. I think that will also make an influence on the fans.”
“I have played so many semi-finals that I still don’t know the secret to win them all. I just feel that you have to play at your best levels to mentally respect what the knockout means. It’s Tottenham, one of the best teams in the country, but it could be a Championship team and my feeling would be the same. A semi-final is a semi-final and has to be played at your maximum level.”
“I won it only once but the feeling is great because of the meaning of the competition and we obviously have to try to give everything [to win it] but for now, we have to try to reach the final and, after this match, we still have four Premier League matches to focus on.”