Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says it will be “difficult” for Anthony Taylor to referee the club’s match away against Liverpool on Monday — and he believes the official has been put under pressure “with intention.”
Taylor has been selected as the referee for Monday’s match even though he was born around six miles away from Old Trafford in nearby Wythenshawe, leading to an outcry from sections of Liverpool’s support.
Former referees’ chief Keith Hackett described the decision to appoint Taylor as “grossly unfair” on the official, and the Man United manager agreed.
Mourinho told the Sunday newspapers: “I think Mr Taylor is a very good referee but I think somebody with intention is putting such a pressure on him that I feel it will be difficult for him to have a very good performance.
“I have my view but I understood and I learned a lesson by being punished so many times for some words so I don’t want to say anything [more] about it.”
Liverpool have history of questioning a referee’s origin, as former manager Brendan Rodgers complained and was then fined £8,000 after a 2-1 defeat against Manchester City in 2013.
Rodgers criticised the appointment of Lee Mason, of Bolton, saying: “Hopefully we don’t have another Greater Manchester referee again on a Liverpool-Manchester game.”
Mourinho has recently attracted the FA’s attention over comments on referees’ mindsets, having been fined £50,000 and given a one-game stadium ban for saying officials were “afraid” to give Chelsea penalties in October.
On the pitch, the Portuguese is confident his players can retain their cool and not cause Taylor any additional issues.
“That’s what we are doing all season,” he added. “Our disciplinary record is really, really good. We don’t have problems at all at this level.
“We are a team that plays with discipline, that is following everything that was told to us in the meetings that we had with the representatives of the Premier League and the referees.
“We don’t press referees, we behave on the touchline so that’s a point that we are very comfortable with.”