Three things we learned from Jose Mourinho’s pre-Sevilla press conference

Manchester United welcome Sevilla to Old Trafford on Tuesday night for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 clash.

Following a goalless first leg, victory will see United become the third English side to progress to the quarter-finals after Manchester City and Liverpool. 

Jose Mourinho briefed the media on Monday ahead of the game. Here are three things we learned from his press conference.

1. United will be without four injured players

Mourinho confirmed Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo, Ander Herrera and Phil Jones are all injured and will play no part against Sevilla.

Jones will also miss England’s friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy later this month, “unless Gareth [Southgate] wants to take him for the medical team,” Mourinho joked, as reported by the Mirror.

Blind, Rojo and Herrera have made 13 Champions League appearances between them this season, but Jones is yet to appear in the competition.

Scott McTominay has been deputising in the absence of Herrera, and Mourinho suggested that will continue, so long as the 21-year-old remains humble.

“I remember at the beginning when I was taking him as an extra player, in the meetings, in the dressing room at half-time eating every word, listening to everything,” Mourinho told reporters. “So I think his humble nature is what is making him a good player for us.”

2. Mourinho is prioritising the Champions League for now

Despite the significance of Saturday’s victory over Liverpool, Mourinho was keen to play down the win ahead of a “more important” meeting with Sevilla.

With Manchester City proving uncatchable, finishing in the top four is United’s only realistic aim in the Premier League. And with eight games to go, the Red Devils are already nine points clear of fifth-placed Chelsea.

As a result, Mourinho believes success in the Champions League is now the priority. Or is he just goading Liverpool?

“Tomorrow is more important than Saturday [against Liverpool] because Saturday was a match for points that we still have 24 more points to discuss, 24 more points to try to finish in the top four,” Mourinho said, as per Manchester United‘s official website.

“But tomorrow and Saturday [against Brighton] are the matches where, in the end, you go to the next draw or you don’t go to the next draw. So, of course, knockout becomes more important than league matches.”

3. Rashford could start as Mourinho blasts De Boer comments

Mourinho hinted Marcus Rashford is in line for another start after his two-goal display against Liverpool.

Rashford has scored three times in seven Champions League games this term, and he’ll be aiming to add to that record if given the chance to do so against Sevilla.

On pundit duty during the Liverpool match, former Crystal Palace manager Frank De Boer criticised Mourinho’s handling of Rashford, something the United boss could not accept.

“I read some quotes from the worst manager in the history of the Premier League,” Mourinho told reporters, according to the club’s website, referring to De Boer.

“He was saying that it’s not good for Marcus Rashford to have a coach like me because the most important thing for me is to win. If he was coached by Frank, he would learn how to lose because he lost every game.”

On Rashford he added: “He started, he had a good match and I’m not just speaking about scoring goals because, for me, the analysis of a performance is much more than analysing the number of goals or assists. I’m really happy with Marcus.”

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