Houston (AFP) – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho said he plans to treat Thursday’s exhibition match against Manchester City as a training session as the two Premier League rivals prepare to clash in Houston.
The two teams meet at the NRG Stadium — home of the Houston Texans NFL team — in the first ever edition of the Manchester derby to be staged overseas.
Mourinho, who will lock horns with City boss Pep Guardiola once more, insisted however he was not concerned with the result of the game.
“It’s nice for the US and US fans, it’s very good for the event. I think it’s very good for both clubs and there is always a little bit of rivalry, a bit of an extra ingredient but for me it’s a friendly,” Mourinho said.
“I’m not going to jump to celebrate a goal, or cry if we concede, it’s preparation for me. The European Super Cup is a match, West Ham is a match,” the Portuguese manager added.
Mourinho is likely to field two separate line-ups during the game, with one XI playing 60 minutes and a second XI 30 minutes.
In United’s two previous tour games — wins over the Los Angeles Galaxy and Real Salt Lake — he changed the entire line-up at half-time.
“It’s a competitive training session, a training session that you try to win but it’s not the most important thing,” he said.
“I know what I want and it’s to give minutes to my players, to improve, to make mistakes to repeat in training exercises to stop those mistakes and to make the new players try to understand their teammates.”
Mourinho meanwhile brushed off questions about former club Chelsea’s capture of Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid earlier Wednesday, insisting he was happy with United’s high-profile signing of Romelu Lukaku last week.
“I’m not interested in what Chelsea FC does, really,” Mourinho said. “We got a big player, a player that I can compare with what he was a few years ago, because he worked with me for a few months and his development was very good.
“We have a player who is now a top player. You have to prove it at the highest level, he has to do it for United, in Champions League matches but he has amazing qualities.”
Mourinho meanwhile reiterated that United had not finished their transfer business, but conceded the market made doing business difficult, and he may scrap initial plans to sign four players during the window.
“Everybody knows I would like four players and I’m ready to go from four to three because the market is difficult, some clubs think the market is different from others,” he said.
“We are not a club that is ready to pay what the clubs want us to pay so I’m ready to go from four to three.”