CL Basel (h) - Pre-Match Press Conference
Manchester United`s Champions League campaign gets underway this Tuesday evening when FC Basel arrive at Old Trafford.
This afternoon, Jose Mourinho held his pre-match press conference with the boss fielding a whole raft of questions.
Starting with his squad, Mourinho remarked,
"Fellaini didn`t train yesterday. Let`s see if he can today. He`s more important to me than you can imagine.
"I don`t think Eric Bailly and Phil Jones are better than Chris Smalling or Victor Lindelof. They are on the same level, just different players."
Continuing on his summer signing from Benfica, Lindelof, Jose added,
"I think it is easier for him to play in the Champions League. There is no need for him to adapt but he needs a little bit of time to adapt to the Premier League.
'He is very bright and very calm and step by step he will get there. I am more than confident for tomorrow, he is a very good player with a very good potential.'
On facing Basel, in the first game of the Champions League campaign, Mourinho remarked,
"We are strong and playing well and confidence in ourselves and we think in spite of the difficult match we have enough quality to win.'
And on being back in the Champions League, Jose further added,
'Being back in the Champions League is going back to the natural habitat. Manchester United have been there season after season.
'For some players there`s the motivation of playing in it for the first time, so we look forward to the match and I hope also Old Trafford feels it in the same way we are feeling.
'We have to try to qualify and we have to try to go to the last 16 and enjoy that special knock-out phase with the best teams in Europe."
Looking ahead, to the latter stages, Jose also had a few words to offer, commenting,
'Real Madrid last year played the last month in La Liga with a second team they could do it. They arrive in the Champions League final with a fresh team. Juventus were champions three months in advance last month with the second team.
'They were fresh. English teams normally that`s impossible because normally the competition goes strong until the end no winter break.
'I love the Christmas period for football and the fact that we have to play many times with two days break before the big matches in Europe while other countries protect their clubs.
'But no complaining this is what we have, we have squads and if we think they`re tired we play with other players.'
And on the shock announcement that Crystal Palace had axed Frank de Boer after just four games, Jose finished with,
'That`s the world where we are, world where many of you enjoy and also contribute the kind of pressure managers involved. I was sacked as a champion. Also Ranieri. De Boer four matches.'
And with that he was gone.