Jose won’t talk about ref, talks about ref

Daniel Storey

Jose Mourinho believes the furore that has surrounded Anthony Taylor’s appointment as referee for Liverpool’s clash with Manchester United could affect the official’s performance at Anfield.

The decision to have Manchester-based Taylor oversee the contest between the two north-west rivals was this week criticised by Keith Hackett, the former head of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited body, because he fears the “focus on him would be intolerable” should he make an error on Monday night.

Liverpool fans on social media have also taken umbrage with Taylor’s hiring, even though he supports non-league Altrincham, and it was similar scrutiny of an official last year that prompted the PGMOL to remove Leicester-based official Kevin Friend from Tottenham’s April game at Stoke, with Spurs then in pursuit of the Foxes in the title race.

United boss Mourinho, who is no stranger to controversial comments on referees, thinks the fact Taylor’s appointment has been queried in some quarters has already made his evening tougher.

“I don’t want to say anything about it,” Mourinho said, before carrying on.

“I have my view but I understood and I learned, if you want to call it, a lesson by being so many times punished by some words.

“I think Mr Taylor is a very good referee but I think somebody with intention is putting such a pressure on him that I feel that it will be difficult for him to have a very good performance.”