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Jose Mourinho has been taking tips from Bjorn Borg’s trainer

And Mourinho will used the message that Borg’s coach Lennart Bergelin drummed into his fellow Swede during the memorable five-set marathon in 1980.

Bergelin’s mantra was: “Don’t panic, don’t look at the big picture, don’t lose focus – just concentrate on winning every point.”

It worked for Borg who kept his concentration to eventually prevail 8-6 in the fifth set to become the first man to win five consecutive Wimbledon singles titles.

Mourinho will deliver the same message to his players today when they go to Arsenal knowing defeat could leave them 11 points behind City – who look to have a home banker against struggling West Ham tomorrow – with the first Manchester derby of the season looming next weekend.

Asked if it was a must-win game, the United manager said: “I play a game at a time and I think it is the way to do it. Yesterday I was watching an interesting movie, Bjorn Borg vs John McEnroe, and Borg’s coach was telling him all the time – one point at a time, think just about one point.

I always say this. It doesn’t matter what comes after, it doesn’t matter what came before. It is just about this game.

“So now it is Arsenal. We don’t think about how many points we are in front of them, we don’t think about how many points we are behind the leaders. We don’t think about that – it is just Arsenal.

Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United face Arsenal at the Emirates this Saturday


“It is difficult enough for us without being focussed on other things. So just focus on this game.”

Ask who he was more like – iceman Borg or the more volatile McEnroe – Mourinho declined to answer. “I love tennis but I don’t play it,” he said.

Despite failing to win an away game against one of the so-called top six in his last 11 attempts with United and Chelsea, scoring only one goal in the process, Mourinho seems in no mood to change his approach at the Emirates, where the Gunners have posted 12 consecutive Premier League wins.

He explained his tactical approach by saying: “When we have the ball we are going to attack with 11 players, because the goalkeeper also knows what to do when we have the ball, and when Arsenal have the ball we will defend with 11.

“Take more risks? It depends with what you think about risk, I think in the beginning of football, the guy who decided there would be defenders and attackers was bad because everybody has to defend and attack, especially in modern football.

“So you can say what you want. My goalkeeper needs to know what to do when his team has the ball, how to attack, and my striker needs to know how to defend. For me it is simple.”

True to his message to his players to concentrate on the game ahead, Mourinho refused to be distracted by the sideshow of his bitter past history with Arsene Wenger. He taunted the Gunners manager when he finally registered his first League win over him in April but said yesterday: “Forget me against Wenger. Forget it.”

But when asked whether he would be interested next summer in Mesut Ozil – a player he described in their time together at Real Madrid as “the best midfielder in the world” – he could not resist a mischievous smile before saying a loaded: “No comment.”

Wenger, too, did not want to be drawn on his relationship with Mourinho but admits his rival has put his stamp on United and admitted they are a “dangerous” team.

“He has had time to put his print on the team of course,” said Wenger.

Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal have picked up some good form since beating Tottenham

“He is now in his second year there. They look to be a strong team, yes. They have power, yes. They have a lot of power up front. Lukaku, Ibrahimovic, now he is back, Rashford, Martial. You cannot say these guys lack power.

“Overall I believe they are a dangerous side. So our defensive performance will certainly be important, to be well organised when we don’t have the ball against them.”

Both teams have key absentees. Arsenal will be without Alexandre Lacazette while United will again be without Marouane Fellaini, Phil Jones and Eric Bailly and are sweating on the fitness of midfield anchor man Nemanja Matic.

But if it is anything like Borg-McEnroe then fans will be in for a treat.




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