Man United fan group invites Jose Mourinho to discuss crowd concerns

MANCHESTER -- Manchester United Supporters' Trust (MUST) has offered to meet Jose Mourinho to discuss his concerns about the club's fans and the atmosphere at Old Trafford.

Mourinho said he was "disappointed" with a perceived lack of support from fans for Romelu Lukaku during the 1-0 win over Tottenham on Saturday.

And ahead of the 2-0 Champions League victory against Benfica on Tuesday, the United boss wrote in his programme notes that he hoped fans "enjoy the game more than some of you did against Tottenham."

Mourinho has also, on occasion, been critical in the past of the atmosphere inside Old Trafford.

Ahead of Everton's visit in September, Mourinho wrote in the programme: "I do hope that our noisy supporters are back from their holidays for today's match to give the players the backing they need and deserve."

In response, MUST has offered to send representatives to meet Mourinho in an effort to better understand the 54-year-old's grievances.

"There are differing views amongst supporters on precisely how to interpret the manager's comments," it said in a statement to Press Association Sport. "However it's probably fair to say there is a universal desire within the stadium to see atmosphere improved just as there is at other Premier League clubs.

"There are a number of factors that have contributed to atmosphere decline over the decades, some of which could be addressed with better cooperation between clubs and supporters.

"MUST would certainly appreciate the opportunity to engage with the manager, as part of our existing dialogue with other club officials, on issues around atmosphere and would be more than happy to meet to discuss his concerns."

Mourinho has been complimentary about United's away following since taking over from Louis van Gaal in 2016.

And he praised the atmosphere at Old Trafford after the 2-1 win over Middlesbrough last season, saying that United's comeback from a goal down had been helped by the "70,000 fans on the pitch."

But he also told supporters they needed to "do better" following the League Cup semifinal first leg against Hull in January and reminded them they "do not come to the theatre" ahead of a game against Liverpool last season.

MUST has been working to improve the atmosphere at home games, including helping to introduce a singing section ahead of the 2014-15 season.

It is in regular contact with United about fans' issues, although this invitation for talks has been extending specifically to Mourinho.

Mourinho has a history of criticising his own team's fans. After Chelsea's 2-1 home win over Queens Park Rangers in 2014, he likened playing at Stamford Bridge to "playing in an empty stadium."

Mourinho is also not the first United manager to question the club's support.

Following a 1-0 win over Birmingham at Old Trafford in 2008, Sir Alex Ferguson said: "The crowd were dead. That was the quietest I have heard the crowd and it's disappointing because we needed the crowd today."