Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has warned his players of the burning desire that Cristiano Ronaldo will have to secure a victory over them at Old Trafford with Juventus.
The ex-Red Devils winger will make his return to the venue where he first became a global superstar, scoring 118 goals in 292 outings with the club, on Tuesday on Champions League duty with the Italian side.
It is not, however, the first time he has been back since departing for Real Madrid in 2009, turning out for Los Blancos at the Theatre of Dreams under the stewardship of Mourinho in 2013.
On that occasion, he found the net and the Portuguese manager believes that the 33-year-old’s desire to do so again will remain enormous.
“He came back with me in Real Madrid,” Mourinho told United’s official website. “I know how much he loves Manchester United. I know that, but I also know how much he wanted to win here and score against Manchester United and win against Manchester United, because he did that with Real.
“He scored and they won. So, it will be more of the same on Tuesday.
“The fans will show the respect he deserves. He will show that to the fans, too. I know that he really loves the club but when the ball starts rolling, he wants to score and he wants to win.”
Despite the presence of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner in Juve’s ranks, Mourinho remains optimistic that United can pick up maximum points.
“Nobody can stop us going into the game and thinking we can win,” he said, explaining how much he is enjoying this period of the season after facing Chelsea and drawing 2-2 at the weekend.
“It’s opponents of this level of football that you want. You cannot be in the Champions League and expect not to play and not to enjoy these opponents.
“I think they are always a candidate to win the trophy and, this season, they are more than a candidate. So, it’s fantastic for us.
“I said before the Chelsea game that Chelsea-Juventus in three days, for some, is a nightmare. For me, it’s not a nightmare, it’s just where I want to be and I thought I was quite successful in giving this feeling to the boys before the Chelsea match.
“I think it’s easier now to give the same feeling for this match and we have to enjoy it. Nobody can kill our desire to play that game and try to win.”
Mourinho’s men have four points from their two matches to date, having won 3-0 at Young Boys before being held scoreless by Valencia at Old Trafford earlier this month.