Manchester United checks in at Lowry Hotel ahead of Sevilla Champions League clash just hours after WW2 bomb scare
The Manchester United squad checked into the Lowry Hotel on Monday evening just hours after a bomb scare in the city centre.
The prestigious hotel was placed on lockdown after a suspected WW2 bomb was discovered on a building site in a nearby street.
People were told to avoid Chapel Street, in Salford, as pictures shared on social media showed a large police presence in the area.
A 100m cordon was put in place around the street - but the hotel - which is a favourite with Manchester United - was not evacuated.
A short time later, Jose Mourinho and his players appeared to be in good spirits as they arrived ahead of their Champions League clash with Sevilla after the hotel was given the all clear.
Alexis Sanchez, David de Gea, Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata were among the stars snapped as they arrived at the five-star spot on Monday evening.
Mourinho says “anything is possible” for his side if they can overcome Sevilla and reach the Champions League quarter-finals.
The Reds boss knows United remain a work in progress in his second season in charge and claims they are not among the contenders to win the Champions League this year.
That billing belongs to the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and United's local rivals and runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City.
But Mourinho, who has won the competition twice before with Porto and Inter Milan, said United will start “smelling” the semi-finals if they manage to get past Sevilla.
“I think we’re not one of the best teams in the competition,” said Mourinho. “But when a team arrives in the last eight, anything can happen.
“When you’re in the last sixteen it looks really far, but in the last eight you start smelling the semi-finals.
“When a team gets into the last eight, the feeling is you are among the best, but anything can happen.
“If we go through to the quarter-finals, it doesn't matter the opponent, it will always be one of the big names in European football, but we'll try.”
Tonight's tie is evenly poised after United's 0-0 draw in Sevilla three weeks ago, a creditable result but one that leaves Mourinho's side vulnerable to away goals.
Sevilla drew 2-2 at Liverpool in the group stage and came back from 3-0 down at home to draw 3-3 with Jurgen Klopp's side, with Mourinho acutely aware of their goal threat.
“We're playing against a team that didn't lose against Liverpool home and away, scored goals against Liverpool, drew against Liverpool,” said Mourinho.
“Liverpool are a very good team, with an important stadium and with a big tradition, so it says Sevilla are a really good team.
“We won 2-1 against Liverpool on Saturday and at the end of the game there were some who said it was a disaster.
“So imagine if we were knocked out – it would be considered a disaster, but for me it would be a disappointment.
“I don’t think we’re candidates to win the competition. But when you draw away, even though it’s a 0-0, we get to decide the tie at home.
“We don’t have to win by three, four, five goals, we have to win 1-0, 2-1, 5-4, 8-7. So not to win would be a disappointment.”
Tonight's encounter is the first knock-out Champions League match at Old Trafford since April 1st 2014, which shows the extent of United's fall from grace in recent seasons.
Mourinho has begun the process of reversing that decline, even though United snuck into the Champions League through the back door, by winning the Europa League last season.
Second in the Premier League with a top-four place all but assured, United will be back in the Champions League next season, but are not yet finished in this year's competition.
“I think the Europa League final was our most important match in the last few years, because we won it and that victory brought us to our natural habitat, which is the Champions League,” said Mourinho.
“United has to be a team in the Champions League, so that victory was very important for us because we finished outside the top four. By winning the Europa League we won a title and got back into the Champions League.”
Paul Pogba, who missed United’s 2-1 win over Liverpool on Saturday through injury, took part in light training and has an outside chance of being involved.
“We don’t know yet,” said Mourinho. “But he trained a little bit."
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