Football

Fright night for 
Jose

● Half of United's squad make forced 
flight landing due to violent storm ● Mourinho holds hasty press conference in the open after late change in venue

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho revealed yesterday that he was ready to go home as the club's pre-season tour of China threatened to turn into a farce.

The final match of their China tour is tonight's first Manchester Derby outside the UK and Mourinho can't wait for it to be over.

"It is almost the end and we can go home and train in conditions where the players are safe," said Mourinho after a wild couple of days for his squad, following a 4-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund in Shanghai on Friday.

Half of Mourinho's players were caught on a plane which had to make a forced landing between Shanghai and Beijing because of a violent storm in the capital on Saturday.

Striker Memphis Depay tweeted a video of himself outside the plane in Tianjin, saying they were "lost in China".

"We were supposed to fly in two different planes," Mourinho said. "The second group was unlucky as they had a storm and had to land somewhere else for a couple of hours.

"They then arrived at the hotel for dinner at 1am. The players are good and arrived with a smile."

Doubts over the state of the Bird's Nest Stadium turf for the friendly against City after days of heavy rain meant a hasty switch of training venues to the nearby Olympic Sports Centre yesterday.

And, with more storms forecast for today, the match itself could be in the balance.

HOPEFUL

"It has been really bad," said International Champions Cup China spokesman Ben Xiaozheng. "We are hopeful the game will go ahead."

Meanwhile, the smaller venue struggled to cope with the invasion of hundreds of reporters, photographers and TV crews to cover United's every move.

Mourinho arrived but refused to attend a news conference in an overcrowded and stifling press room in the bowels of the inadequate facility.

"It was too small, too full and too hot," said a spokesman for Manchester United's media department.

Eventually, the Portuguese former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss did agree to answer questions - near the stadium's running track, surrounded by a vast media scrum.

Then he comically struggled to be heard among as a few hundred fans chanted from the stands.

Earlier, City boss Pep Guardiola had said his No. 1 priority was to avoid injuries and what could be a treacherous pitch.

Mourinho, raising his voice above the melee, agreed.

"I think Beijing is unlucky because the pitch is bad and condition of the players is more important than pre-season," said Mourinho.

"I have one objective for tomorrow, take the players home safe and without injury." - AFP.

"I just don’t think he is a player worth £100m-plus right now. For that money, you would need a player who scores 50-plus goals a season, like Ronaldo or Messi. Pogba is not there yet."

— Man United legend Paul Scholes on Paul Pogba’s price tag

Footballmanchester cityManchester UnitedJose MourinhoInternational Champions Cup