Phil Jones expected to be fit for Manchester United's clash with Huddersfield

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By the end of the week, however, Mourinho was more conciliatory in explaining his position at his weekly press conference at United's training ground.

The wily Portuguese knows goals like Marcus Rashford's freak effort against 18-year old novice Mile Svilar, the youngest goalkeeper in Champions League history, will be hard to come by against stronger rivals. The Spaniard will rarely take the game by the scruff of the neck but few players are more adept at maintaining pressure and threading passes through the lines, providing not just the right pass but indeed a perfectly weighted one as well. "I don't know when he comes back, when he's available, I've no idea", said Mourinho. "We're not bad." There has been no love lost between Conte and Mourinho with the Chelsea boss warning his players during the summer not to have a "Mourinho season", a reference to the Special One's chaotic final campaign at Stamford Bridge before he was sacked. "Doesn't mean I don't miss the players". We had a little bit of a strategy, especially on set-pieces to make him uncomfortable. I feel sorry for him.

Cole also believes the draw at Anfield was a good result, despite the criticism of manager Jose Mourinho's decision to adopt a defensive approach. "We are one point from qualifying and one victory away from winning the group with two games at home to play". The flak he got was unwarranted but that is what he has to expect at Manchester United. "As a club, they have a certain way of playing and, as a club, they've let that go for the time being".

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But Mourinho's men will look to bounce back from a draw against Liverpool to keep up the pace with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League when they travel to the John Smith's Stadium on Saturday.

However, former United midfielders Roy Keane and Paul Scholes, speaking as TV pundits for ITV and BT Sport respectively, have backed Mourinho.

United will be looking to make history by keeping an eighth clean sheet in the opening nine league games of the season.

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