Last Updated: 06/04/18 11:49pm
Do Manchester United really need extra motivation to beat their local rivals? Not in the slightest, insists Jose Mourinho.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City can win the Premier League title against Mourinho’s side on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Premier League at 5.30pm at the Etihad Stadium, with 16 points currently separating the two sides.
Anything other than a win for City means the celebrations will be put back, and Mourinho’s message is that motivation comes from looking inwards at United’s league position, not from the potential of being the party-poopers.
In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports, asked if there is any extra incentive in the United camp, Mourinho said: “No, we have enough motivation by being professionals, with the normal desire to try to fight, try to win every match.
“On top of that, we want to finish second, because it’s the position where we’ve been in for a long, long time, in such a difficult league with so many top clubs coming behind us.
Man City vs Man Utd
April 7, 2018, 5:00pm
“So we have enough motivation for that, and our focus is to try to get the points for that. It’s an important one. And in this case, it’s really important, because we need to finish top four. There is no second option.
“We would prefer to finish second than fourth, so we are going to fight for the points.”
A draw or United win will delay the confirmation of City’s Premier League title stroll by another week. But for Mourinho, that’s just what it is: a delay.
Mourinho is not interested in timing, but only in the fact City will be champions.
“I think the most important thing is to win the title, or not win the title, and they are going to win the title, and we are not going to win the title,” Mourinho added. “That’s the most important thing.
“If it’s tomorrow, if it’s next week, next month, the important thing is they are going to win the title, we are not. So I don’t play with this in my mind, because it’s something very objective and pragmatic.
“The only thing in my mind is we want points, we are going to fight for points, because we need them for our objective, and at the moment our objective is not to be champions.”
And what about Guardiola? His arrival in England in 2016 was to be the start of another war of words, or so everyone believed. The conflict has been relatively tame, and Mourinho once again insists the rivalry that dominated headlines in Spain is now non-existent.
If it’s tomorrow, if it’s next week, next month, the important thing is they are going to win the title, we are not.
“I don’t have it [the rivalry], not at all.”
On Friday, Mourinho was in defiant mood. One thing is for sure, if Guardiola and his troops are celebrating out on the pitch come 7.30pm on Saturday, Mourinho’s post-match reaction in the quiet of the tunnel will be worth watching.