Jose Mourinho has been invited to “discuss his concerns” around the Old Trafford atmosphere by the Manchester United Supporters Trust.
Apparent tension between the manager and sections of the fan base has been a hot topic since the Portuguese held a finger to his lips and told the doubters to calm down after beating Tottenham on Saturday.
Those actions were fuelled in the build-up to Tuesday’s Champions League win against Benfica by Mourinho writing in the programme notes to supporters that he hoped they “enjoy the game more than some of you did against Tottenham”.
Surprisingly, the United boss seems most put out by an apparent lack of support for Romelu Lukaku against Spurs, saying it was unfair that fans “don’t support him so much” and that they should view him as “untouchable” like he does.
Mourinho’s unexplained chatting hand gesture after Daley Blind wrapped up a 2-0 win against Benfica from a penalty that he took Lukaku off further muddied the water, with MUST keen to speak to the manager about his concerns over the United support.
“There are differing views amongst supporters on precisely how to interpret the manager’s comments,” MUST said in a statement to Press Association Sport.
“However it’s probably fair to say there is a universal desire within the stadium to see atmosphere improved just as there is at other Premier League clubs.
“There are a number of factors that have contributed to atmosphere decline over the decades, some of which could be addressed with better co-operation between clubs and supporters.
“MUST would certainly appreciate the opportunity to engage with the manager, as part of our existing dialogue with other club officials, on issues around atmosphere and would be more than happy to meet to discuss his concerns.”
United take on Chelsea on Sunday but they are not back in action on home soil until November 18, when Newcastle visit in the late Premier League kick-off.
Mourinho has regularly spoken about the Old Trafford atmosphere since joining the club, but player support is a new issue.
The United boss did, though, offer an insight into the seemingly current fragile nature of Lukaku’s confidence after preventing him from taking Tuesday’s penalty.
Mourinho’s men rode their luck after taking the lead against Benfica through Mile Svilar’s own goal, with Blind told to take the spot-kick that wrapped up a 2-0 win rather than Lukaku – now without a club goal since September 30.
“I’m the manager and I make the decisions and he missed the last one,” Mourinho told Viasport Fotball.
“I want him to take a penalty when there is no pressure, there is no responsibility and there is no need to score the goal.
“We are playing in the Champions League, we need points, even with 12 points we are not even qualified.
“It is an important moment in the game, 1-0, with 10 or 12 minutes to go, I want a player free of the pressure of missing the last one.
“I’m really happy with his personality, I am really happy that he wants to take the responsibility but I’m here to sometimes protect the players and protect the team.
“In that moment I protect him. I need to protect him because he missed the last one.
“I think I protect him because if he misses the penalty the team would be in the danger of a 1-0 result. It would be second consecutive miss for him. He will take a penalty when the game is over, and the game was not over.”