Jose Mourinho’s surprising comments on the importance of the North West derby are spot on

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has said that the two forthcoming matches against Brighton and Sevilla have more importance than the 2-1 victory over the club’s bitter rivals Liverpool on Saturday afternoon.

What’s the story?

As per the Guardian, Mourinho has claimed that the do or die nature of the knockout ties that will take place at Old Trafford this week when Sevilla and then Brighton and Hove Albion visit in two different competitions makes them more important than the league meeting with the club’ fiercest rivals Liverpool.

Sevilla travel to face United in second leg of their last 16 Champions League match after the first leg finished 0-0 before Chris Hughton brings the Seagulls to Old Trafford to compete for a place in the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

Although the Liverpool match appeared to electrify United and their fans as they tightened their grip on second place, Mourinho points to the fact that there would are still eight more league matches where the top four will be decided. Sevilla and Brighton are “die or live” matches.

Mourinho is absolutely right

Manchester United v Liverpool is the biggest game of the season for both sides – it is the one they don’t want to lose – but in simple terms, a defeat would be recoverable.

A defeat for United would have been deeply disappointing and would have affected the mood around the club but a good run of form between now and the end of the league season would likely see them achieve their basic objective of qualifying for the Champions League next time around.

However, their hopes of a trophy rest on their next two fixtures. I don’t expect them to win the Champions League but having gone through a grueling Europa League campaign last season just to qualify for it, going out at the last sixteen stage would feel unsatisfactory.

Old Trafford is demanding of big European nights and there hasn’t been one since David Moyes lined his United up against Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich side in 2014. They are expected to make the last eight.

The FA Cup is their most realistic chance of a trophy and three of the big six are out. United can’t ask for much more than a home tie to earn a place in the last four so it becomes a massive fixture at the end of a massive week.

Yes, for the fans, the north west derby is the one they want to win and do not want to lose at any cost, but for the bigger picture of United’s season, the next two matches are much more important.