Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has stated that he wishes Manchester United will progress to the last eight of the Champions League and claimed that he supports the likes of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney.
The Blues boss has frequently attracted criticism for commenting on the fortunes and prospects of other sides, but he has been quick to rubbish the notion that he does not respect rival teams and players.
"I think Man City and Arsenal showed at Munich and Barcelona that I was right that they have enough quality to do it because they play very good matches so I don’t think
that is a lack of respect. This is support," he said in a clear rebuttal to comments made by Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure this week.
"The same way I say City has three matches in hand and they are capable of winning all
three matches and become top of the league. If that is lack of respect he has a strange concept of lack of respect."
Drawing the focus particularly on to Manchester United, Mourinho - who many thought would be the man to step into the Old Trafford hotseat following the departure of the iconic Sir Alex Ferguson during the summer - expressed his wish to see them overturn their Champions League deficit and claims he supports their players.
"I want to say the same in relation to Man United. I think Man United is a better team than Olympiakos. I think Man United can do it. I wish Man United to do it.When tomorrow when
Rooney, Robin van Persie or Michael Carrick say Mourinho’s not being respectful, I think they are wrong because I support them.
"I support the English teams and I was not happy that the English teams were out of the competition," he added.
Manchester United, who are of course now led by former Everton boss David Moyes, have it all to do at Old Trafford if they are to reach the quarter-finals after they produced arguably their worst performance of a difficult season and fell to a dismal 2-0 defeat to the Greek champions last month.
However, before Moyes can turn his attentions to that critical game, there is the small matter of a home derby clash - arguably the most important tie between the two teams witnessed in recent years - against Brendan Rodgers' second-placed Liverpool on Sunday afternoon.
Chelsea meanwhile - who travel to Aston Villa this weekend - also face a tough battle to progress in the Champions League and will hope to beat Galatasaray - who now include former Blues legend Didier Drogba among their number - at Stamford Bridge next week.