Playing at Anfield is beautiful – Mourinho’s men not afraid of Liverpool hostility

Jose Mourinho shot down suggestions that the partisan atmosphere at Anfield on Saturday will have a negative impact on Manchester United, saying they love playing in such conditions.

United travel to Liverpool for Saturday’s early kick-off in the Premier League after a wonderful unbeaten start to the season which has seen many tip them for the title.

It has been suggested that the trip to Anfield will be United’s first real test of the campaign, as they are yet to face any of the top five from last year.

They will also undoubtedly get a frosty reception from the home fans, but Mourinho has downplayed the importance of this, certain that his players would rather play at a hostile Anfield than an empty stadium.

“This is funny for me,” he told reporters at his pre-match media conference.

“Big atmospheres motivate us. It’s something we want, it’s something that if we could have every match, we would have,” says Jose. #MUFC

— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 13, 2017

“When people speak about big atmospheres, it makes it sound like a big problem for us to go to certain place and face a big atmosphere. This [a great atmosphere] is what we want.

“I’m surprised you say this. I’m even more surprised that people talk about atmosphere as if they are something sinister.

“It’s something we want, something if we could have every match, we would have.

“When Barcelona played against Las Palmas in an empty stadium, you think Las Palmas players wouldn’t rather play in a Camp Nou full of fans?

“I’ve never seen a player complain about an atmosphere. We complain when an atmosphere is flat.

“We know the fans have huge animosity against us historically, but this [the hostility] is what we want.

“We are very happy to have one more opportunity to play in these beautiful conditions. Playing in Anfield is beautiful.”

It was then put to Mourinho that his team might go to Anfield and be a little braver than they were there last season, when United came away with a 0-0 draw, to which the Portuguese coach responded in a suitably unimpressed fashion.

The #MUFC manager jokes about his tactics for tomorrow’s game… pic.twitter.com/3muHsaVmSl

— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 13, 2017

“Yeah, one defender and nine strikers,” he joked. “Don’t worry, for sure we’ll play in a new system with one guy behind and we play with nine strikers. Don’t worry about it.”

Mourinho went on to give a brief injury update, and although Michael Carrick remains out, there was good news in terms of Romelu Lukaku, who did pick up an ankle issue early on in the international break, before eventually playing for Belgium.

He added: “Michael Carrick I know cannot play. I know that. Lukaku looks fine, and that’s it.”