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José Mourinho wants Manchester United to go toe-to-toe with Manchester City in Sunday’s derby.

United are nine points behind the league leaders after 11 matches as they travel to the Etihad Stadium. Mourinho’s team are enjoying a fine week, having won at Bournemouth and Juventus, after previously drawing at Chelsea when winning until the closing moments.

Mourinho, asked whether the wish was to go toe-to-toe with Pep Guardiola’s team, said: “We are going to try. I cannot say we are going to be successful in our motivations, in our desire, but we played two different matches away against two very good teams – Chelsea and Juventus – and we managed to get good results.

“And even if the good results were not in our pockets the performances were there, the positive attitude was there so we are going to try but Manchester City are a very powerful team.”

Mourinho refused to be drawn on the alleged breaches of FFP rules by City but did praise their football operation.

“It is difficult for me to answer because I focus on my job, I focus on the four lines [pitch], focus on football. If you want to speak about their football potential we can speak and football potential starts with investment, and after that of course there is a quality of the work, of the organisation – I think that is untouchable.

“But what is behind I cannot say but in this moment I have only to think about football, and to think about football is to think about Manchester City as a football team there.”

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Romelu Lukaku could be available again following a hamstring injury. Mourinho said: “Lukaku is training with the team this [Friday] morning. If his response is positive – and we have of course one more session tomorrow – he is ready.”

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