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Saturday 24 June 2017

Mourinho wants to raise the roof

Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini celebrates scoring their second goal with manager Jose Mourinho. Photo credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.
Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini celebrates scoring their second goal with manager Jose Mourinho. Photo credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

Jose Mourinho called for Manchester United fans to up their game for Sunday's Premier League home clash with Liverpool following the 2-0 League Cup semi-final first-leg win over Hull at Old Trafford.

United boss Mourinho also stressed the need for improvement from himself and his players as he urged supporters not to "come to the theatre" on Sunday but "come to play with us".

After second-half goals from Juan Mata and substitute Marouane Fellaini steered his side to victory against the Tigers on Tuesday, Mourinho expressed his concerns, saying: "Maybe I didn't do my job well to prepare the players.

"But the players have to improve and I have to improve, and I am sorry to say I think the fans have also to improve for a big match on Sunday.

"Our performances (for the Hull match) were enough to win but for Sunday, we all have to improve."

Manchester United midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin has moved to Everton for £22m. Photo credit: Nigel French/PA Wire
Manchester United midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin has moved to Everton for £22m. Photo credit: Nigel French/PA Wire

He added: "I always think that we are responsible for the fans' participation in the game.

"If we play very, very well, very enthusiastic, they come to the pitch and play with us. When we didn't play so well, with so much emotion and intensity, it is normal that they relax a little bit.

"We have absolutely amazing fans.

"What I feel is that Sunday is a special match for us, a special match for the Manchester United fans - so my invitation is don't come to the theatre, come to play, play with us."

Despite what he called an "important'' result having been achieved, Mourinho said his team "played slow" and "complicated things" - although he did admit that in terms of this having been a ninth straight win in all competitions for United, he "cannot ask more" of his players.

He was full of praise for Fellaini, who has been jeered by some United supporters but heard his name being chanted around Old Trafford after his late goal, which the midfielder celebrated by hugging his manager.

Mourinho said of the Belgian: "He has a very strong mentality. Scoring an important goal for us, he changed the dynamic and the empathy with the fans.

"He is always supported by myself. He knows he is a very important player for me."

Mourinho also said he expects striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, absent on Tuesday due to illness, to be available on Sunday, and that Morgan Schneiderlin will join Everton, with United having accepted a £22million bid from the Toffees for the midfielder.

Schneiderlin is set to undergo a medical at Everton.

The 27-year-old midfielder is poised to move from Old Trafford to Goodison Park after the clubs agreed a £22 million fee, a move which may signal the exit of Ireland international James McCarthy from Everton.

Schneiderlin moved to Old Trafford from Southampton in a deal worth around £25 million in July 2015, but has struggled to make an impact since manager Jose Mourinho's arrival last summer.

The France international now looks set to join former Saints boss Ronald Koeman on Merseyside, with realistic add-ons understood to have been built in that could take the transfer figure to £24million.

Schneiderlin has not started a Premier League game this season and has made just eight appearances under Mourinho.

The United boss said after the League Cup semi-final first leg win against Hull that Schneiderlin was "more than probably going to go to Everton" after a pre-match update from executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

"Before the match Mr Woodward told me 'almost there', so I have 'almost there'," said Mourinho. "So I'm sad, I'm happy.

"I'm sad because I like him and he could be an option for us in a long season. I'm happy because this is what he wants - he wants to play every game, to be an important player in the team.

"So if this is what he wants, I am happy for a very good professional, somebody I can only say good things about."

Should the deal be completed, Schneiderlin would become Everton's second January signing after 19-year-old winger Ademola Lookman joined from Charlton.

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