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What They're Saying: Man United Boss Hails His 'Looking Good' Squad Ahead Of Sunderland Clash

Roker Report's pre-match paranoia continues with Christmas looming between now and the Boxing Day trip to Old Trafford. Here's what Jose Mourinho and his players have been saying about the visit of Sunderland.

Chelsea v Manchester United Preview - Premier League Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

The Manager

Monday's game at Old Trafford has already been billed as the dour one v the arrogant one, the current incumbent v the redundant one, Mourinho v Moyes - the two Fergie successors.

The headlines are already written for David Moyes' return to Old Trafford a year-and-a-half since he vacated the Old Trafford seat.

But, more importantly, there's a game to be played and points to be fought for. Jose Mourinho has weathered the early storm that also battered his predecessors - Moyes and van Gaal - and has Manchester United back in the top six, unbeaten in their last ten games.

Manchester United v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The former Special One was in front of the cameras yesterday afternoon to preview Monday's fixture, and hailed his squad as "looking good". Mourinho is set to choose from a largely fit squad and has been boosted by a full selection of centre-backs with Chris Smalling now back available to join Eric Bailly, Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo in the United manager's thoughts.

Mourinho also revealed that he hadn't spoken to David Moyes before he took the Manchester United job. Perhaps the two men will have chance to compare notes of the post-Fergie era at Old Trafford over a Boxing Day glass of port.

The Players

Mourinho dismissed claims that his players are upset that they will be made to train on 25th December ahead of Boxing Day's clash. There had been reports earlier in the week which claimed the staff at Old Trafford were cross at the plans to put on a light training session on Christmas Day.

Mourinho rubbished the Scrooge-speculation, saying:

The players know it is the correct thing to do. It's not true that everybody is upset with it. It's not true that everyone that works at Old Trafford is very upset with me.

The Manchester United players will endure a light workout before regrouping in their Christmas Day lodgings for dinner.

Meanwhile, defender Phil Jones, previewing the encounter said:

Boxing Day is a great day for football. Sunderland had a slow start and have been a bit up and down of late. Anything can happen in this league and anyone can beat anyone on the day, so we now have to give everything in every single game we play.

Former Manchester United centre-half, John O'Shea, now in his sixth season at Sunderland reckons if his side hold their shape, they can keep the Red Devils at bay:

It's all about how we move and play against certain opposition. The manager is very experienced in that and the analysis that prepares us for matches.

It will be close and it will be tight, but Victor Anichebe has come in to give us a big boost. Jermain Defoe scores goals and Jordan Pickford has been immense for us, taking his chance with both hands.

The Pundit

Sky Sports' Paul Merson got his predictions in early, presumably so he could hit the Christmas sherry:

Manchester United have well and truly turned the corner, they are absolutely flying. Sunderland had a big result against Leicester but followed that up with a hammering at Swansea. Swansea are not in the same class as United so I can only see one winner here.