Manchester United manager David Moyes is relishing the challenge of facing the returning Chelsea boss, Jose Mourinho, in the defending champions’ first league game in front of the boisterous Old Trafford faithful.
Mourinho, who began his second spell at the west London outfit with home victories over Hull City and Aston Villa, could do his Chelsea side good with a win tonight (Monday), which will see them maintain 6 points lead over the Red Devils.
At his pre-game conference last Friday, Moyes was optimistic, saying: “I came to Manchester United for this level of match. I also came to win trophies. To do that you have to beat the likes of Chelsea.”
Moyes guided United to an opening day 4-1 victory at Welsh club Swansea and could better that with another home victory against Chelsea as the champions have long hoped to hit the ground running this season.
“There is lots I’ve been looking forward to; taking the team on tour, leading them at Wembley,” Moyes said.
“But to do it (lead the team out) at Old Trafford for the first time against Chelsea is a thrill, it really is.”
Wayne Rooney has once more taken centre-stage ahead of the clash between last season Premier League champions and Europa League winners as a result of his much anticipated move to Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho, who returned to Stamford Bridge after a three-year spell at the Santiago Bernabeu with Real Madrid, insisted he is only interested in the high-profile clash with United and not talking about the 27-year-old England international but, however admitted it is always “emotional” playing against him.
“I don’t care,” Mourinho said. “In this moment I don’t care. I have a big match on Monday (today). I don’t care about new players.
“There is the same emotions as when I always play against him. The emotions is he is a very good player.”
The Portuguese said he will have enough to contend with when he takes on United even though Sir Alex Ferguson is no longer in charge.
“In my first time at Chelsea they had Roy Keane. (Paul) Scholes, players with big history there. Now they have still players from my time, like (Rio) Ferdinand, (Nemanja) Vidic, (Ryan) Giggs, and they have this always mixed with very good young players.
Mourinho believes the special relationship with Ferguson will however be missed on his return to the same ground he won the retired Scot twice in his first spell.
“For me, the only difference is the routine of meeting a friend, of being together and relaxed before the match and have the guarantee that after the match, independent of the result, we will be together and enjoying our time and having a laugh.
“With David (Moyes), we don’t have this type of relationship but we have a good one, so we can start this kind of very nice relationship like I had with Sir Alex no problem.”
Chelsea defender David Luiz is doubtful for tonight’s big clash, due to a hamstring injury that made the 26-year-old to miss out of ‘The Blues’s’ first two fixtures. Mourinho could rotate his options, with 20-year-old striker Romelu Lukaku poised to start.
Rooney is in line to make his first start for the defending champions since returning from a shoulder injury but Rafael da Silva is out injured.