Jose Mourinho has insisted that Manchester United’s Champions League clash with Sevilla on Tuesday and FA Cup meeting with Brighton on Saturday mean more to him than this weekend’s 2-1 win over old rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford.
United made the most of two early goals from Marcus Rashford to overcome Jurgen Klopp’s outfit in the 200th competitive meeting between English football’s two most successful clubs on Saturday, but the Portuguese boss says that statement victory will mean little compared to the “live or die” encounters to come in the next seven days.
“Sevilla and Brighton are more important than Liverpool,” the 55-year-old told reporters. “Liverpool is Liverpool, Liverpool is a big match, Liverpool is a match against a valid competitor for the top four, but nothing is decided.
“We have eight more matches to play so 24 points to play for, but Brighton is die or live and Sevilla is die or live so the next two are much more important than the last one.”
United drew 0-0 in the first leg against Sevilla in Spain in February. But, while they have since seen off Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Liverpool in successive league games, Mourinho knows that failure to see the job through on Tuesday would see their recent successes forgotten in a flash.
“I think in modern football you live day-by-day and week-by-week and match-by-match, and we have a match in two days,” he added. “I can imagine if we lose against Sevilla on Tuesday, everyone will forget what we did in the past couple of weeks.
“That’s modern football, you have to live in the moment and cope with it. So yes, we beat Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool and only City we didn’t beat from the top six in this moment, but that means nothing because in football now you have to prove [yourself] every day.”
Mourinho added that he was pleased that his opposite number Klopp was not reprimanded on Saturday despite racing 20 metres down the Old Trafford touchline during the second half after defender Dejan Lovren had been penalised for a foul on Marouane Fellaini, with referee Craig Pawson satisfied with giving the German a quiet word following advice from fourth official Martin Atkinson.
“Probably you are not expecting my answer, but I am happy with the decision because he was not speaking against the referee. He was upset with his player.
“It happened the same with me against Crystal Palace when I was upset with my player and the referee understood that too. I think Atkinson, with so many years of experience, I think he made the right decision. I saw it, he was very upset with the player and not with the refereeing decision.
“If you leave the technical area a couple of metres – in this case 20 metres! – to speak with a player and not complaining with a refereeing decisions… I think they made the right decision.”
United host Sevilla at 19:45 GMT on Tuesday knowing that a win of any description will take them into Friday’s quarter-final draw.