Under Pressure Mourinho Leads United to Burnley
Manchester United are hoping to avoid their worst start to a season since 1987 when they visit Burnley this afternoon. Jose Mourinho walked out of his press conference after Monday’s 3-0 home defeat to Tottenham shouting “Respect!” in response to some of the questions he was asked by journalists, and continued his defiance to their poor start ahead of today’s game at Turf Moor.
He warmed up for the short trip to Burnley by telling reporters he remained “one of the greatest managers in the world”.
“I am the manager of one of the greatest clubs in the world but I’m also one of the greatest managers in the world,” said Mourinho.
“I repeat, I have won eight titles (as a manager). I’m the only manager to win in Italy, Spain and England.”
Insisting mood in his camp is high, Mourinho said: “I was really humbled by the response from the fans and the team really felt that support, too.
“And because of that, this was not a difficult week at all, we feel we deserved more than we got.”
Burnley will have a quick turnaround after dropping out of the Europa League with a 4-2 aggregate defeat to Olympiakos on Thursday night, but Sean Dyche preferred to focus on the positives from the Clarets’ first European campaign in 51 years, ahead of a tough challenge from United.
Burnley have suffered a stuttering start to the season in their opening three league games, drawing 0-0 with Southampton on the opening day before losing to Watford and Fulham.
“I think you saw a team that wanted it to carry on considering how many have been saying that ‘no-one wants it’, but that is the mentally here, we want to win every game that we play,” said Dyche.
“It has been three qualifying rounds but six games. So we have picked up experience from that,” he added, saying the challenge of travelling to Europe and then preparing for Premier League football at the weekend was a tough one.
“I think we have learnt a lot. A lot on the pitch, off the pitch, a lot about travelling, about organisation and all the things that come with it.”
Eric Bailly may return to the Manchester United squad following Phil Jones’ injury during Monday’s defeat to Spurs, while Alexis Sanchez may be fit enough for a start. Diego Dalot and Sergio Romero remain sidelined.
Burnley are set to be without Johann Berg Gudmundsson again. Having come off due to a hamstring injury at Fulham last weekend, Gudmundsson missed Thursday’s Europa League clash with Olympiakos, with teenager Dwight McNeil taking his place on the left wing and delivering an eye-catching performance on what was his first start.
Dyche made seven changes to his starting line-up for that match and Chris Wood, Jack Cork, James Tarkowski and Joe Hart are among the players poised to come back in. Ben Gibson is available again after being suspended for the European match.
Burnley have won just one of their last 17 top-flight meetings with Manchester United (D8 L8), with that victory coming in their first ever Premier League meeting back in August 2009 (1-0).
Manchester United have kept a clean sheet on nine of their last 10 visits to Turf Moor in all competitions, with the exception being a 0-1 defeat in August 2009.
Burnley are occupying the bottom three of the Premier League for the first time since August 2016 – however, the Clarets have won three of their last four Premier League matches when starting the day in the relegation zone (D1).
Manchester United have lost two of their first three league matches of a season for the first time since 1992-93 (P3 W0 D1 L2) – they haven’t lost three of their first four league matches in a season since 1986-87, when they were managed by Ron Atkinson.
Burnley have collected just nine home points in the Premier League in 2018 (P10 W2 D3 L5) – only Huddersfield (8) and Southampton (7) have won fewer among clubs ever-present this calendar year.
Burnley are still yet to make a change to their starting XI in the Premier League this season, while Man Utd have made more changes than any other side (9).
Manchester United’s goal difference of minus three is their worst since August 1992, when they had the same negative deficit after four matches of the inaugural Premier League season; this is the first time they will be going into a Premier League match with a negative goal difference since September 2014, when they beat QPR 4-0 following a 0-0 draw away at Burnley in the previous match.