Did absence make the heart grow fonder for Manchester United’s supporters?
Jose Mourinho thinks so, as the club went from perennial UEFA Champions League contenders to missing the competition entirely last season (United did win the Europa League).
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Speaking to the press ahead of his group stage debut as United boss, Mourinho expressed hope that the Old Trafford supporters will be respond well to the bright lights of the UCL. From the BBC:
“For some players there’s the motivation of playing in it for the first time, so we look forward to the match and I hope also Old Trafford feels it in the same way we are feeling it.”
Mourinho is without suspended defenders Phil Jones and Eric Bailly, and will start Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling in front of David De Gea. He also has an injury question in Marouane Fellaini, who has a calf problem.
More on De Gea: Mourinho says he’s not going to trot out specified keepers for each competition, as he did when Sergio Romero led the club through the UEL.