(FILES) This file photo taken on March 16, 2017 at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, north-west England shows Manchester United’s Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho arriving for the UEFA Europa League football match between Manchester United and FC Rostov. Mourinho is accused of tax evasion in Spain, AFP reports on June 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Oli SCARFF
Jose Mourinho urged Manchester United fans to enjoy Tuesday’s Champions League match against Benfica more than the weekend clash at Old Trafford in an apparent dig at sections of the home support.
“I hope that you enjoy the game more than some of you did against Tottenham,” Mourinho wrote in his programme notes, referring to the 1-0 Premier League win, a day after defending striker Romelu Lukaku against apparent fan agitation after a five-game drought.
The game on Saturday was not a classic but Mourinho used his notes to compliment his players, adding: “It was an extremely tight game between two big teams, but I think we got what we deserved for our efforts.
“They gave absolutely everything, so even if we hadn’t won, then I would have been proud of them.”
Lukaku, 24, hit the ground running after completing a big-money move from Everton, hitting 11 goals in his first 10 matches for United.
The United boss said it was unfair that fans “don’t support him so much” as, whether he scores or not, the Belgium international makes a difference.
“The fans are the fans, and they pay their ticket and are free to express themselves however they want,” Mourinho said on Monday.
“But my job is, when I feel they deserve, to protect my players and I feel Romelu is one of the players that should be untouchable in terms of the respect from everyone.”
United, second in the Premier League, are top of Champions League Group A with three wins out of three while Benfica are winless.
Mourinho’s team started off the season scoring freely but they have found goals harder to come by in recent matches.