United are winless in their last three matches in all competitions, and Saturday’s limp 3-1 defeat away to West Ham cemented their worst start to a league season for 29 years.
Poor results have been amplified by Mourinho’s repeated public criticisms of his players and ongoing tensions with star midfielder Paul Pogba, who was stripped of the United vice-captaincy after making disparaging comments about the team’s tactical approach in a 1-1 draw at home to Wolves.
In a press conference ahead of the Valencia match Mourinho said he believes that in the United dressing room “some care more than others” about the team’s current plight, and he wants his players to demonstrate their passion for the cause at Old Trafford as they attempt to maintain control of their Champions League destiny.
Asked how important the Old Trafford crowd could be against Valencia, Mourinho told United’s official website: “I prefer to say that the players’ attitude is the most important thing and then from the supporters I cannot ask for any more.
“I cannot ask for more than they are giving at home. Away with bad results, I cannot ask for more. I think it’s time for the people on the pitch to show them [the fans] that they love the club as much as the fans.”
Valencia have made a similarly underwhelming start to their league campaign, winning one and drawing five of their first seven La Liga matches, and they also suffered a 2-0 defeat to 10-man Juventus in the opening round of Champions League fixtures – but Mourinho is expecting them to present stiff resistance at Old Trafford.
“Lots of draws but one defeat,” he said of Valencia. “A good team with a very good squad, a very balanced squad with two players per position of [a] high level. [They] have a way to play based on the power and strength of two central defenders and the quality and speed, especially in the counter attack in the wings and the strikers, so a difficult opponent.
“What I expect is exactly that – a team that in this moment has zero points [in the Champions League] but zero points from a match against Juventus. They know that they have a double fixture next against Young Boys, where I’m pretty sure that they think they can get six points in this double fixture, but they will try at Old Trafford to take something from the game.”
United will be without Jesse Lingard, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera and Marcos Rojo against Valencia due to injury.
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