Jose Mourinho says people of Manchester 'will pull together' after bomb attack

Jose Mourinho says people of Manchester 'will pull together' after bomb attack

Jose Mourinho says the "hearts and minds" of everyone at Manchester United are with those affected by the horrific attack that killed 22 people and injured many more.

An explosion rocked the city on Monday evening when a bomb was let off at the end of a concert by pop star Ariana Grande at the Manchester Arena.

Greater Manchester Police has confirmed 22 people were killed and 59 injured in an attack that has shocked the world.

In the wake of the incident, UEFA accepted United's formal request to cancel their press conference ahead of the Europa League final, while the team held a minute's silence at training before flying to Sweden.

The Islamic State terror group has claimed responsibility for a bombing that United manager Mourinho says dominates their thoughts ahead of facing Ajax in Stockholm.

"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," the Portuguese said.

"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."

Mourinho led the team on a walk around the Friends Arena pitch upon arriving in Sweden on Tuesday evening.

The squad - along with the suspended Eric Bailly - congregated in the centre circle, while injured Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw and Ashley Young stayed on the sidelines as they were on crutches.

There was no sign of injured top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic by the time Mourinho led the group off after five minutes.

It is unclear how the United players and staff have been impacted by the explosion ahead of the Europa League final - a match that not only offers silverware but Champions League qualification.

Many of the squad took to social media to express their sympathy and solidarity after the attack.

United captain Wayne Rooney posted on Twitter: "Devastating news this morning. Thoughts and prayers are with all those affected."

Daley Blind said he "can't believe what happened" and goalkeeper David De Gea expressed "much rage, much pain", with winger Jesse Lingard saying "this beautiful city" will "stand together in this dark hour".

United have confirmed that the players will wear black armbands as a mark of respect on Wednesday, with a minute's silence to be held before the final.

Old Trafford was closed to the public on Tuesday following the bombing and United said in a statement that "club staff are ready to help the police and other emergency services in any way that may be required at this challenging time for our city".

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward echoed that support in an email to staff confirming the cancellation of Wednesday's Europa League party at the Victoria Warehouse, before later opening up to MUTV about the fallout to Monday's attack.

"Words don't really do justice for how we all feel," Woodward said. "We're numb.

"The events were sickening and all our thoughts at the moment are with the victims and the families affected by it.

"It was very sombre flying over with the directors this morning and it was all we were talking about, to be honest.

"We've met with UEFA and sat with them and gone through different things we can do around the game, and they accepted we can wear black armbands and have a minute's silence for the victims."

Asked what impact it has had on Manchester United's preparations, he added: "We've got a job to do tomorrow, no question about that, and that hasn't been changed. But I think what happened last night really put things into perspective.

"Success on the pitch really is nothing compared to the pain and suffering going on back home, that is really where our thoughts are at this point in time."

Just last month Stockholm was hit by an attack as a hijacked truck was deliberately driven into crowds, killing five people.

UEFA implemented extra security measures after the horrific incident in April, with fans set to go through detailed checks ahead of the match on Wednesday.

A statement from European football's governing body after the Manchester attack read: ''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.

"UEFA has been closely working with local authorities and the Swedish FA for many months and the terrorist risk had been taken into account since the very beginning of the project."

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