Jose Mourinho says Man City will be harder to play against without Sergio Aguero
Jose Mourinho has claimed that it will be more difficult to play against Manchester City without Sergio Aguero because with him they are more predictable in the way they line up.
Ahead of the eagerly-anticipated Manchester derby on Saturday lunchtime Mourinho also attempted to play down the bitter rivalry between himself and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.
The Manchester United manager said: “For us, it’s a game. For me, especially it’s a game. We are playing to try to win the title.
When you play to try to win the title especially in the first phase of the season I don’t feel any match more important than another one.
“For me, it’s one more match. I know what the derby means for everyone, I’ve played derbies everywhere in so many countries and cities, but I always want to be in the position of emotional control.
“It’s just a match against a very good opponent. If you want to be successful and win the game we have to be at the top.”
Aguero, one of City’s very best players, is serving the first game in a three-match ban after being charged by the Football Association for elbowing West Ham United defender Winston Reid.
“It looks a bit of a contradiction but without Aguero it’s more difficult,” Mourinho said.
“It changes because it’s now more difficult because when Aguero is available we know that Aguero plays, we know he plays and their dynamics and formation and nobody has doubts.
“When a player like him is ready, he plays. So in this moment he does not play. They have an amazing rich squad in options. And now Guardiola has many options, different options.
“One thing if he decides to play with Iheanacho, another thing if he decides to play Sterling or Silva as a fake no9, between the lines, he has so many options that for us in the preparation of the game we have to go step-by-step situation after situation because we try to reduce the unpredictability of the game.We know they have so many options that to try to do that job for the players is difficult.”
Aguero missed Argentina’s recent World Cup qualifiers with Mourinho questioning why two City players who were in the squad - Nicolas Otamendi and Pablo Zabaleta - were flown back by their club in a private jet while United made their two players – Sergio Romero and Marcos Rojo - travel on scheduled flights.
“Sergio and Marcos they went around the globe,” Mourinho said. “They played in Venezuala and then played in Argentina and then back to Europe.
“Man City spent the money to bring them on direct flights from Venezuala or maybe they spent the money from the owner. But our boys went Argentina and they came here on time to training this morning.”
There was praise for the impact that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has made at United who he joined in the summer after being released by Paris Saint-Germain.
“He’s a phenomenonal player, that arrives at the age of 34 and wants more for his career,” Mourinho said. “He didn’t want the Chinese money or the American, US dollars. He wanted the most difficult place to play football, the most diffcicult place to win titles. It was his choice. It’s mote about him than us (managers). Managers in terms of motivational terms to him doesn’t matter. It’s zero.”
Mourinho claimed that United claimed had a fully fit squad to choose from which means that Luke Shaw and Henrik Mkhitarayan are available for selection.