By Martyn Herman
ENFIELD, England (Reuters) – Jose Mourinho aims to continue his 100% start as Tottenham Hotspur manager when he returns to Old Trafford for the first time as a coach since being sacked by Manchester United and believes he will be shown respect on Wednesday.
The Portuguese won the Europa League and League Cup in two full seasons at United but was sacked midway through the last campaign with the club sixth in the Premier League.
He re-surfaced at Tottenham a fortnight ago after the club parted company with Mauricio Pochettino, and he has overseen three consecutive victories to take Spurs up to fifth.
Mourinho’s United reign was a rocky one but as well as delivering two trophies they also finished runners-up to Manchester City in 2017-18 – a feat the two-time Champions League-winning coach claimed was one of his best achievements.
“Tomorrow I go back as a coach of the team that is going to try and beat Manchester United and that maybe gives a different perspective,” the Portuguese said on Tuesday.
“Going back to Old Trafford is to go back to a place where I was happy. I can say that. I have a great relation with the Manchester United supporters.
“I expect there is respect shown towards me, but I understand what they want is exactly the opposite of what I want — I want Tottenham to win. During the match of course I expect them to forget me and I expect them to support their team.”
Mourinho’s return to Old Trafford has dominated the build-up to the game but he says his time at United is now ‘in my history book’ adding: “At United I won and I learned. My time after I left was a good time for me.”
United are in ninth spot two points behind Tottenham, and pressure is mounting on Mourinho’s successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, whose initial stunning impact is now long forgotten.
Mourinho would not be drawn on Solskjaer’s situation.
“I am Tottenham. Again, if you want to speak about United as an opponent, let’s speak about them as an opponent,” he said.
“It is not for me to analyse United now. I analyse them as an opponent, how they play. How can we beat them? How can they beat us? For me that is the important thing.”
Tottenham will be without Ben Davies, Erik Lamela, Michel Vorm and Hugo Lloris for the match.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Hugh Lawson)