The ten most important things you need to know about Jose Mourinho’s first press conference as Manchester United manager, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
10 things to know about Jose Mourinho at United:
1. First he was ‘The Special One’, then he was ‘The Happy One’, what is his new nickname?
‘I don’t know. The other two times I was arriving at the country, this is a different one. I was sacked by Chelsea and then I stayed in the same country and the same country with the same faces. This is nothing new. I have arrived into a club that is difficult to describe … I don’t like the nomination that this is the dream job. This is reality and the reality is that this is the job that everyone wants.’
2. The rivalry with new Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola may take a little longer to heat up while there was some criticism of both La Liga and the Serie A.
‘To speak about one manager, one club and I don’t like the word, but one enemy, is not right. One thing is that you are in a competition like I was in Spain when it is a two horse race. In Italy it was three teams. But in the Premier League it doesn’t make sense at all. If you focus on one team or one opponent then the other ones will be laughing so I won’t be a part of it. I am Manchester United manager with respect for all the other clubs in the country.’
3. A minimum of two more signings can be expected at Old Trafford. Well one, if you count Henrikh Mkhitaryan …
‘I am a manager that likes specialists and not so much the multi-functional players. I am very clear in my model of play so I need specialists. We decided four targets … Until we have the fourth we are still working hard.’
‘I was never good at hiding behind words and philosophies.In fact, I never tried to be good at that. I was always much more aggressive with my approach – even honest and pragmatic. To be more aggressive is to say ‘we want to win’.I can imagine one of you will come later about style of play and what came before ... I can imagine this question is around the corner. I can anticipate by saying, you can win a couple of matches without playing well. but you cannot win competitions without playing well. Playing well is scoring more goals than the opponent, conceding less goals than your opponent.. keeping your fans happy. We are not going to get everything, of course, but we want to.’
5. Mourinho says he has nothing to prove. And then took a massive swipe at Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
‘There are some managers the last time they won a title was 10 years ago. Some never have. The last time I did was a year ago. If I have something to prove, imagine the others!
6. Sir Alex Ferguson still has the freedom of the club.
‘He will always be welcome to training ground. His opinion always an important one for me. We will have time to share together.’
7. He did not attempt to talk his way around one of the biggest issues facing the Red Devils – Ryan Giggs leaving the club after 29 years.
‘The job Ryan wanted is the job the club decided to give me.Ryan wanted to be Manchester United manager. And the board decided to hire me. Ryan wants to be a manager. For many of us, we start as assistant coaches, and we arrive at a moment when we make a decision – and Ryan made a decision. He could be whatever he wanted at the club but he made a decision. A decision where you need to be brave. I was not happy myself at Barcelona in 2000. Do you think it was easy for me to leave such a big club and go to a new fight. It was not easy. For Ryan, it is not just the step from assistant manager to manager – he also left his house. He was brave, he was honest. Good luck. If one day he wants to come back to the club while I am here, I will take him back. If one day the club offers him the chance to be manager, I think it will be something natural and a consequence of his managerial career.’
8. The Portuguese manager addressed the perception that he does not trust youth. He has the numbers to back it up too and he took on those who questioned his role in bringing talent through the club’s structures.
‘How many minutes do we have? I am ready for this. How many players in the academy do we have? Do you know? 49. I have promoted 49 players from the academy.Sometimes you promote players because you don’t have a chance. You have so many injuries you don’t have a choice.That is one factor. The second factor is when you are not playing for big targets. My record for injuries is very, very low.From the Champions League studies, my teams had the least injuries in the whole of Europe. In every season I have managed, I was fighting for the title. It was never a position of stability. I brought through 49. We are talking about big players, players in the Euros. One lie repeated many times, sometimes looks true but it will always be a lie.‘
9. The transfer business will be done long before the window closes in August.
‘We have isolated four main criteria [for signings]. We have three now and until we have four we don’t stop working.When we do, we can breathe. We are working hard, me and Mr Woodward and the owners. We are not going to get the fourth on the 31st of August, we are going to get the fourth before then.’
10. There will be no mediocre standard set by the notorius winner. Mourinho expects the club to be in the Champions League next season.
‘I feel a bit frustrated that I don’t play in the Champions League – I don’t hide that I chase Sir Alex’s record of wins.The club is much more important than myself. Manchester United is a Champions League club. In July 2017, we have to make sure we are not waiting for the Europa League.’
Photo: Andrew Yates/Reuters