Manchester United cancel news conference after explosion

STOCKHOLM -- Manchester United have cancelled Jose Mourinho's scheduled Europa League final prematch news conference in Sweden in the wake of the deadly explosion at the Manchester Arena on Monday evening.

United manager Mourinho, who was due to arrive in Sweden with his squad later on Tuesday ahead of Wednesday's final, had been due to speak to the media at the Friends Arena at 6:15 p.m. CET.

Instead, Mourinho said in a club statement: "We are all very sad about the tragic events last night; we cannot take out of our minds and our hearts the victims and their families.

"We have a job to do and we will fly to Sweden to do that job. It is a pity we cannot fly with the happiness that we always have before a big game.

"I know, even during my short time here, that the people of Manchester will pull together as one."

Earlier, United as well as Manchester City expressed their condolences to those affected by the attack.

UEFA confirmed that a minute's silence would be observed before the game, while much of the pregame ceremony would be "considerably reduced." United players observed a minute's silence at Tuesday's morning training session before flying to Sweden.

Stockholm security was already intensified for the match against Ajax following a deadly truck attack in the Swedish capital last month. But UEFA also said it has "no specific intelligence" that the final featuring Manchester United will be a target.

"The terrorist risk had been taken into account since the very beginning of the project," UEFA said, noting it has worked with Swedish authorities "for many months" to plan for the game. "There is currently no specific intelligence which might suggest that any of the UEFA Europa League Final activities in Stockholm may be the target of attacks."

Stockholm police spokesman Kjell Lindgren said there has been no threat to the match.

"Now, we are prepared for every possible and thinkable [thing] that could happen in Stockholm tomorrow, including terrorist attacks, and we are satisfied with our preparations," Lindgren said. "We have been in contact with our English as well as Dutch colleagues and they are helping us with information, they are visiting us tomorrow, and we are quite satisfied with how we are prepared and the information that we get.''

Regarding the cancellation of the news conference, UEFA also said: "Following last night's attack in Manchester, UEFA has received and accepted an official request from Manchester United FC not to hold their prematch press conference, which was scheduled to take place at the Friends Arena in Stockholm this evening.

"Manchester United's training session at their own Carrington training ground in Manchester will take place as scheduled at 11:00 local time (12:00 CET).

"Later this afternoon, Manchester United will have a team walk inside the match stadium at 18:30CET, which will be open to accredited media.

"The press conference of AFC Ajax remains scheduled for 18.45, followed by an open training sessions at 19.30 CET."

In a statement sent to ESPN FC, the club said: "Due to the tragic events in Manchester last night, and the effect that this has had on everyone here at the club and within our city, we have decided to cancel this evening's prematch press conference in Stockholm.

"We are sure that, in the circumstances, you will all understand our position on this matter."

Meanwhile, United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has emailed United staff to cancel an event for club staff that was scheduled to be held on Wednesday night in Manchester out of "respect for the victims and their families."