Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says his team must remain grounded if they are to keep in touch with Premier League leaders Manchester City and also sustain their title challenge.
The Red Devils defeated Newcastle United 4-1 last weekend but suffered a shocking 1-0 loss to Swiss club Basel in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Ahead of Saturday’s clash against Brighton, the former Real Madrid manager has tasked his players to remain calm.
“I always say to myself, and to the ones that work directly with me, that we must always have emotional balance,” the Portuguese stated during his pre-match press conference on Friday.
“Emotional balance when we are doing very well, emotional balance when we are doing badly, always emotional balance after a big victory, emotional balance after a big defeat, so in this moment we [haven’t yet played 50 per cent] of the season, so let’s be calm.”
The former Inter Milan coach also provided updates on the club’s forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic who made his return from long-term injury against Newcastle United last weekend
“He’s always here, he’s always positive, he’s a good influence. It doesn’t change the fact he’s playing or not playing. That is important on the pitch because he’s one more option for us and I think it’s impossible for [Romelu] Lukaku to play every match, so we need this second option – another man, another striker,” Mourinho added.
“He’s not ready, step by step, minute by minute, match by match. He’s not a player that you play only if the team is losing or only if the team is winning. He’s a player that’s easy to bring in to the game, so normally he’s going to have these periods of 15-20 [minutes] and, one day, we will feel that he’s physically ready [to start].”
Mourinho also has kind words for Brighton and their manager Chris Hughton and is wary of the threat posed by the Seagulls.
“I think Chris [Hughton] [has done] a great job since he took the team a few seasons ago and we must focus on this [match]. I know that we have a good record at home, I know that we are strong at home, but the opponent is going to be difficult for us.
“[They are] ninth in the table, good team, difficult to beat, don’t concede many goals, a mixture of physicality, aggression with also quality and creativity.”