APPARENT tension between Jose Mourinho and sections of Manchester United supporters continued on Tuesday as he implied some of them did not enjoy Saturday’s win over Tottenham.
A day after defending striker Romelu Lukaku against apparent fan agitation after a five-game drought, the Portuguese used his programme notes ahead of the Champions League clash with Benfica to make another point.
“I hope that you enjoy the game more than some of you did against Tottenham,” Mourinho wrote of the 1-0 Premier League win at Old Trafford.
The game was hardly a classic, but Mourinho used his notes to compliment his players, adding: “It was an extremely tight game between two big teams, but I think we got what we deserved for our efforts.
“They gave absolutely everything, so even if we hadn’t won, then I would have been proud of them.”
Twenty-four-year-old Lukaku hit the ground running after completing his big-money move from Everton, hitting 11 goals in his first 10 matches for United.
The United boss said it was unfair that fans “don’t support him so much” as, whether he scores or not, the Belgium international makes a difference – frustrations he repeated ahead of the Benfica match.
“The fans are the fans, and they pay their ticket and are free to express themselves however they want,” Mourinho said.
“But my job is, when I feel they deserve, to protect my players and I feel Romelu is one of the players that should be untouchable in terms of the respect from everyone.
“It’s not one ball that hit the post or one save by the opposite goalkeeper that can make Romelu’s contribution below the top level.
“He’s playing extremely well for us and yes, I have to protect my players when I think my players deserve it.
“Romelu always deserves it because of what he does for the team, what he does for the team is fantastic. Playing football for a striker is not just about scoring goals.
“So for me he is untouchable for my team and untouchable also in the support and the respect that he deserves from the fans.”