Jose Mourinho Talks Romelu Lukaku, Says Manchester United Should 'Grow Up'

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 9, 2018

TURIN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 07: Manchester United head coach Jose Mourinho looks on during the Group H match of the UEFA Champions League between Juventus and Manchester United at  on November 07, 2018 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has called on his team to "grow up" ahead of their derby with Manchester City on Sunday and also said Romelu Lukaku could return to the side at the Etihad Stadium. 

Mourinho was asked about United's ability to come back from losing positions after they did so for the second match running on Wednesday to beat Juventus 2-1 in Turin.

Per Charlotte Duncker of the Manchester Evening News, he replied:

"We can go to the other side, why we always concede before opposition. 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."

Meanwhile, Lukaku has sat out United's past two matches through injury. He faces a late fitness test ahead of the derby, per football writer Chris Winterburn:

The Belgium international also missed United's 2-1 victory against Bournemouth, in which they came from behind to win.

In October, the Red Devils were losing against Newcastle United and Chelsea but managed to secure a win and a draw, respectively.

Despite their recent comebacks, United are nine points behind their local rivals. Asked whether a victory on Sunday could reignite their Premier League title hopes, Mourinho said:

"If we drew [the points gap] is nine if we lose is 12, I don't think is the way to look at the match. We have to just think about the match, is difficult enough by an isolated event, if you want to put that match into the context of where we are, where we can be.

"I want to play it as an isolated match, difficult match against difficult team but they think is a difficult match for them."

The coach wants to see his side take the game to their local rivals, but he conceded it will not be easy, per the MEN's Samuel Luckhurst:

City have been a cut above the Red Devils this season. Not only have they gone unbeaten in the Premier League, but they have also scored 33 goals in 11 matches and shipped just four. By contrast, United have scored 19 and conceded 18, having already lost on three occasions.

According to recent reports from Der Spiegel, based on Football Leaks documentation, the Sky Blues got around UEFA's financial fair play regulations through inflated sponsorship deals.

Mourinho would not be drawn on discussing the allegations when asked whether the two clubs were operating on a level playing field:

"It is difficult for me to answer because I focus on my job, I focus on the four lines, focus on football, if you want to speak about their football potential we can speak and football potential starts with investment.

"After that of course there is a quality of the work, of the organisation, I think that is untouchable but what is behind it I cannot say. But, in this moment I have only to think about football, and to think about football is to think about Manchester City as a football team there."

United will be hard-pushed to win the title even if they beat City on Sunday, but a victory away at their local rivals would be an enormous morale-booster.

Lukaku last found the net in September, so if he's able to play against City, United could sorely use a statement performance from him.

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