Jose Mourinho plans to meet Manchester United staff he considers friends on his unexpected return to Old Trafford tomorrow night. Photo: John Walton/PA via AP

Jose Mourinho plans to meet Manchester United staff he considers friends on his unexpected return to Old Trafford tomorrow night.

The Tottenham manager wants to avoid the hysteria that has engulfed past trips to former employers and hopes to speak to those he retains a relationship with at United.

Mourinho’s exit was swift when United sacked him last December and he did not make the same sort of farewell speech Louis van Gaal performed when departing in 2016.

Sportsmail understands the Tottenham boss will seek out club chef Mike Donnelly, some members of the medical team, the kit men and groundstaff during his stay in Manchester.

Mourinho claimed he was inundated with ‘50 messages from Manchester United people’ after replacing Mauricio Pochettino in north London.

He is believed to have lasting friendships with a collection of staff, despite a turbulent final few months during which some relationships were soured. The reception he receives from United’s supporters will be of significant interest. A number serenaded the 56-year-old while he was working as a pundit for Sky Sports earlier in the season.

It is understood Mourinho wants tomorrow night to go calmly, viewing it as a ‘normal’ game, and holds no ill-feeling towards Ed Woodward.

Meanwhile, Mourinho will shun a return to the five-star hotel he called home in Manchester for the £70-a-night Crowne Plaza in the city’s university area.

Instead of going back to the plush Lowry in the city centre, where he controversially stayed for two-and-a-half years in an £816-a-night suite during his Old Trafford reign, Sportsmail understands the Portuguese and his squad will base themselves at the newly-built 212-room hotel, which is now popular with teams visiting United due to midweek traffic issues Mourinho moaned about while in charge at the Theatre of Dreams.

On one occasion, United’s team bus got stuck as it travelled from the Lowry to the stadium, causing a five-minute delay to their Champions League match against Valencia and earning the club a £13,000 fine from Uefa.

The Crowne Plaza’s location means coaches can take a back route through nearby Hulme to Old Trafford, avoiding rush hour traffic and typically arriving in less than 15 minutes.

Daily Mail