Jose Mourinho says the enjoyable win over Liverpool on Saturday could count for nothing if his team do not follow it up with success in two huge cup ties this week.
The experienced boss is fully aware of the nature of the modern game and has, once again, emphasised the importance of the knockout ties – starting with the delicately poised UEFA Champions League encounter with Sevilla.
After a goalless draw in Spain in the first leg, the Reds will be wary of conceding an away goal against Vincenzo Montella’s side and need the Old Trafford crowd as noisy as it was for the grudge clash with the Merseysiders.
Following Tuesday’s tie, with a place in the last eight of the competition at stake, there is the visit of Brighton & Hove Albion to the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday in an Emirates FA Cup quarter-final. The game must be decided on the night, with a semi-final spot at Wembley Stadium awaiting the victors.
As we enter the business end of the campaign, this is when one slip can ruin any dreams of silverware and the boss understands this pressure goes with the territory.
“I think, in modern football, we live day by day,” said Jose. “Week by week, match by match. We have a game on Tuesday and I can imagine, if we lose against Sevilla, everybody will forget what we did in the past couple of weeks.
“That’s modern football. We have to live within that environment and cope with it. Yes, we’ve beaten Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool. Only Manchester City, from the top six, we haven’t beaten, at this moment. That means nothing in football now, we have to prove [ourselves] every day.
“Sevilla and Brighton are more important than Liverpool. Liverpool is a big match, a match against a direct competitor for the top four but nothing is decided. We have eight matches still to play and 24 points to play for [in the Premier League]. Sevilla is die or live. Brighton is die or live. They are much more important than the Liverpool one.”
The boss has also revealed that Paul Pogba suffered his injury in the final minute of the last training session ahead of the Liverpool game and he is unsure whether the Frenchman or Eric Bailly, who was in the wars at the weekend, will be available in midweek.
“The injury to Pogba?,” he said. “It was contact with a player in the last minute of the training session. If I finished the session one minute before, it wouldn’t have happened.”