Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has insisted that the Manchester derby is just another three points and that he tries to treat every match the same.
The Portuguese boss has huge pressure on him to attempt to stop Manchester City from winning the title at the Etihad tomorrow afternoon.
The Sky Blues need all three points for the Premier League to be theirs with 16 points separating them from United who are currently in second.
A win for Mourinho would delay the inevitable but would at least deny City the satisfaction of winning it in their own stadium against their rivals.
The difference in quality between both teams will likely show tomorrow and with the former Chelsea boss keeping a cool head, it could help relieve any nerves from his players.
According to the club’s official website, Jose said to MUTV: “In the end, the points are the most important thing. In the end, it’s always a match of three points and not a match of seven, eight or nine points but there is also a little bit of the emotional difference in relation to other matches.
“But, in my case, I always try to play every match with the same mentality and responsibility and not try to make a derby an El Clasico as we used to call it in Portugal and Spain – a special match.”
Derbies are always a special occasion and so it’s a little strange to see Jose Mourinho downplay it but it’s nothing supporters haven’t seen before.
Former players and managers have always talked about how players must play the match as it is and not play the occasion in order to not get caught in the hype.
It’s certainly a method of coping with the huge amounts of pressure but it’s also the correct thing to do given how playing with your heart often proves to be the wrong call.
Players can get sent off or miss chances or concede silly goals if they keep the pressure on their shoulders as they play and with Mourinho the historically psychological mastermind, he was always going to downplay potentially the biggest game of the Red Devils’ season.