Manchester United Manager Jose Mourinho may have been attempting mental disarmament when he said of the upcoming Champions League match with Juventus, “It’s a big match to play tomorrow, they’re favourites to win the competition.”
United are second in Group H at the moment and have little space between the match with Juventus and the Manchester Derby, where they will play City in Premier League action.
United could use a win, as they currently trail Juventus by five points and Juventus will be bringing its “A” game, with a chance to qualify for the last 16.
United has much ground to make up and in the view of Mourinho, the final two games against Young Boys and Valencia will be instrumental.
He did say that thinking too far ahead is a main danger and that the match with Juventus will require concentration.
“It’s big enough to not think about ‘what next?’ he said. “It’s big enough to think just about the match against Juventus. It’s not a crucial match for us. It doesn’t matter what happens here. There are two more matches against Young Boys and Valencia (which) are going to define the second position.”
United currently stands seventh in the EPL and last year found them trading spots with City as the season wound to its conclusion.
The club has found itself forced to scratch tooth and nail to win over Newcastle (17th and perhaps heading for relegation) and Bournemouth (one spot above United).
The most recent encounter with Juventus resulted in a loss at Old Trafford. Judging from his performance at the 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament, one would think that any side with Paul Pogba on its list would be unbeatable, but that apparently is not the case.
Pogba once had a job with Juventus and his relationship with United and Mourinho appears strained at times, but Mourinho quickly shot holes in any balloons suggesting that there was a problem of any sort with their relationship.