Jose Mourinho wants his players to 'grow up' ahead of Sunday's Manchester derby
Jose Mourinho has told his players to "grow up" after urging them to start games quickly ahead of Sunday's Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium.
United have come from behind to win their last two matches against Bournemouth and Juventus and while Mourinho is pleased to see his team showing fighting qualities, he has encouraged them to take a lead in games rather than respond to adversity.
When asked to commend his players on their pleasing knack of picking up late winning goals, Mourinho stated he would rather see his side take a lead and win matches via a more conventional route.
"We can go to the other side, why we always concede before opposition," he told reporters. "In a positive way is easy to feel a team that does not give up, always find a way to fight back sometimes changing results, sometimes not but we are a team that has that collective spirit to fight back but is not always possible.
"If we keep conceding goals before the opportunity there will be a day where we cannot come back so we have to grow up in our approach, because is clear the team is growing up, but we have to grow up in our compactness and start matches well.
"Against Juventus it happened, we concede the goal in minute 60 we had a good start. In the first 15 or 20 mins we were totally in control."
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Mourinho went on to suggest his side did not need to beat City to get back into the Premier League title race, even though they are already nine points behind their neighbours after just 11 games this season.
"If we draw (the gap) is nine, if we lose it is 12, I don't think this is the way to look at the match," he added. "We have to just think about the match, it's difficult enough by an isolated event, if you want to put that match into the context of where we are, where we can be.
"We are going to try, I cannot say we are going to be successful in our motivations, in our desire, but we played two difficult matches away against two very good teams in Chelsea and Juventus and we managed to get good results and even if the good results were not in our pockets the performances were there, the positive attitude was there.
"So we are going to try but you are right, Manchester City are a very powerful team."
Mourinho confirmed striker Romelu Lukaku is back in training after missing the club's last three matches, yet it remains to be seen whether the Belgian forward will get back into a United team that has showed more attacking fluidity in his absence.