JOSE MOURINHO is concerned that referee Anthony Taylor has been handed the impossible job at tomorrow night’s potentially explosive Liverpool-Manchester United clash.
The straight-talking United boss chose his words carefully – but is obviously concerned about the pressure placed on Taylor, who was born in Greater Manchester.
Taylor lives in Altrincham, Cheshire – just six miles from Old Trafford – and supports the Robins.
But Liverpool fans have swamped social media over the past week questioning his appointment for the Anfield showdown.
And Mourinho said: “I have my view but I understand and I learned a lesson, if you want to call it that, by being so many times punished by some words.
“So I don’t want to say anything about it.
“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 it will be difficult for him to have a very good performance.”
Former referees’ chief Keith Hackett has also strongly criticised the decision and thinks the referees’ body should definitely have looked elsewhere for such a highly charged game.
Hackett said: “No one is questioning Anthony’s integrity or his ability to handle this game. But what if something goes wrong for him on the day – as it can for even the finest referees?
“That’s when the focus on him would be intolerable, especially if a controversial incident goes in Liverpool’s favour and influences the result.”
The referees’ body has acted in the past to avoid controversy.
Leicester supporter Kevin Friend was removed from a match last season involving their title rivals Tottenham after an outcry on social media.
And back in 2013, former Kop boss Brendan Rodgers was fined £8,000 for criticising a decision to give the Manchester City v Liverpool game to Lee Mason, who lives in Greater Manchester.