Manchester United stars warn their rivals: You wouldnt cope with the pressure we live with every day

Manchester United stars warn their rivals: You wouldn\t cope with the pressure we live with every day

Ronaldo plays the sun king before United storm the Juventus fortress

Jose Mourinho has told his Manchester United players to grow up and stop relying on their ability to come back as they prepare for Sundays Etihad derby.

United staged a sensational revival to win the corresponding fixture in April, coming from two goals down at half-time to beat their neighbours 3-2. 

The theme has continued this season with United fighting back to beat Juventus, Newcastle and Bournemouth.

But Mourinho wants his team to stop giving their opponents the advantage, particularly a City side who are unlikely to let them off the hook again.

Asked if he is happy with his players ability to come back, the United boss said: We can go to the other side: why we always concede before the opponent.

In a positive way, its easy to feel a team that does not give up, always finds a way to fight back, sometimes changing results and sometimes not, but were are a team that has that collective spirit to fight back but is not always possible.

If we keep conceding goals before the opponent, there will be a day where we cannot come back so we have to grow up in our approach. Because its clear the team is growing up, but we have to grow up in our compactness and start matches well.

Against Juventus it happened. We concede the goal in minute 60, or something like that, and we had a good start. In the first 15 or 20 mins we were totally in control.

Mourinho confirmed that Romelu Lukaku is back in training after missing the last two games with a hamstring injury, and will give the Belgium striker until the final session on Saturday to prove his fitness. Its understood that Alexis Sanchez is also struggling with a dead leg.

He added: Lukaku is training with the team this morning. If this answer is positive and we have, of course, one more session tomorrow [on Saturday], hes ready but in this moment I can only say he trains with the team. I dont know his answer. 

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This was poised to be a tribute to the great Cristiano before José Mourinhos side produced a group-stage homage to 1999

Instead of which on a mild, still, occasionally fevered night in Turin United produced a moment of Barcelona-lite, a group stage homage to the triumphs of 1999, turning 1-0 down into 2-1 up in the final four minutes.

Read more There was even time for some high-grade toxic José Mourinho theatre at the end. First Uniteds manager could be seen waving his arms and stamping his feet like an angry little marionette as Marcus Rashford, through on goal, had the temerity to try to actually score rather than running it into the corner, or hiding in a hole with the ball up his jumper, or poking a passing pensioner in the eye, or whatever else José had in mind.

As the final whistle was blown Mourinho could be seen punching the air furiously. Not a punch of joy, but an actual nose-crushing series of straight rights in his moment of triumph. Finally he marched out on to the pitch and was confronted by Leonardo Bonucci, irresistibly riled by this figure in black, cupping his ear to the crowd, producing a horribly weird, mocking sneer.

A match that had looked like fading out into the mutual handshake of a useful draw with an hour gone had become something else entirely. A match that had looked like becoming a paean to the great Cristiano with 63 minutes gone had become something else again.

And from here there will be a temptation for some to see turning points, thresholds crossed, a sense of ignition for whatever third-season, late-stage José United is supposed to look like. If this is perhaps a leap too far two things are certain. First, this United team produced a display that Mourinho will treasure for its discipline and its hard edges.

And second, this is the best single result of the Mourinho era. Juventus dont lose in Turin. Stretching back to 2003 Juventus had been beaten just once in 35 home Champions League group stage games before last night. The Allianz Stadium is an ugly, remote, strangely impenetrable fortress, shoved in behind a shopping mall moat and a high wire fence. Inside its a magnificent, steeply banked amphitheatre, with its deafening Eurotrash PA, the familiar squeal of AC/DCs Thunderstruck as the home players come out to warm up. Juve under the lights like state-of-the-art stadium rock football. Except, not quite this time.

For the first hour United had been tough and gristly, a team playing an older version of European football, a matter of stilling the crowd and calming the tempo. It is worth remembering who they were up against too, and not just the man Mourinho referred to as that player afterwards. Although, yes, mainly him. There had been a mere six pages on this game in Gazzetta on Wednesday morning, under the heading Il Big Match. Cristiano Ronaldo the sun king, dominated most of it, with Paul Pogbas return little more than a curio.

Read more With 15 minutes gone Ronaldo had taken 10 touches, three of them shots at goal. There were a few moments of dizzyingly fine close control from Paulo Dybala, who appears to have a strangely hypnotic, sensual relationship with the ball. United were quietly playing well. They were compact and calm in their charcoal grey away kit, the kind of colour the artisan paint charts call armadillo breath or autumn toenail. Runs were tracked. A shape was maintained. Ashley Young has become a vocal leader in this team. Before kick-off he went around hugging every one of his teammates and whispering words of succour in their ears. And he was solid and spiky here, a skinny little warrior on that right flank.

When it came Juves opening goal was a masterpiece conjured up out of some steady pressure. It was made by Bonuccis sublime lofted pass, but mainly by the run, Ronaldos feet suddenly pounding the turf like a boxer hitting the speed bag as he drove through the centre of the United defence. As the ball fell, slowly, gently over his shoulder he didnt have to break stride, spanking it with the top of his right foot past David de Gea. He ran to the corner, arms outspread, and raised the hem of his shirt in celebration, rippling those 33-year-old abdominals. And so we remember, at this difficult time, not only Cristianos ab-ripple, but also Pardews dance, its close forebear in the vanity-hubris stakes.

Uniteds change changed the game. Juan Mata floated in a lovely free-kick to score with his third touch. The winner was bundled in from another set piece. United had silenced, and then infuriated, the stadium. And whatever happens from here to this muscular, pared back, increasingly convincing side, they will always have Turin.

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