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Monday 26 September 2016

Jose Mourinho puts success before style for Manchester United

Published 12/08/2016 | 22:46

Manager Jose Mourinho says winning is the most important thing for Manchester United
Manager Jose Mourinho says winning is the most important thing for Manchester United

Jose Mourinho believes winning matches is more integral to Manchester United's DNA than playing with flair.

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Mourinho's predecessor Louis van Gaal was judged to have failed on both fronts, but the regular chants of "attack, attack, attack" at Old Trafford last season showed where the fans placed their priorities.

Mourinho, like most managers, would like to succeed with panache but, having watched United at close quarters for over a decade, he sees victory as the primary aim of any match followed by style.

"I grew up in football as a manager since 2001 more or less, especially when I came to England in 2004, and I saw Manchester United as a winning team, not as always an attacking team," he said ahead of Sunday's Premier League opener at Bournemouth.

"I played sometimes against Manchester United and they were a defensive team. I played Real Madrid-Manchester United in Madrid and they crossed the midfield line twice... Wayne Rooney played outside-left to defend my right-back.

"I saw them always as a winning team with an attacking philosophy, but a winning team. The winning team needs to score more goals than they concede but, if you want, to concede less goals than the goals you score.

"That's the challenge for Manchester United, to try to be a winning team in a new era of the Premier League that is much more difficult than before. So our job is really difficult but we want to win matches, we want to win competitions, and to win isolated matches you can play bad but to win competitions you need to play well."

Mourinho's arrival has coincided with a transformative transfer window for the Red Devils, with world record signing Paul Pogba - who is suspended for the trip to Bournemouth - joining Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Eric Bailly and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

The decisive manner in which the club have secured their primary targets contrasts with the laborious and underwhelming recruitment that characterised the tenures of David Moyes and Van Gaal.

Mourinho was happy to take some of the credit, suggesting he had arrived with a clearly defined shopping list that contrasted with less clear-minded contemporaries.

But he also praised the club's money men for their "magnificent" approach to pushing through the deals, an issue that previously proved problematic for Ed Woodward, the executive vice-chairman.

"First of all, I didn't buy them. I don't have enough money to pay that amount," Mourinho said.

"So credit to the club, credit to the potential that the club has, not just financially but also what the club means for the world of football to attract players.

"I think I gave a contribution because I was very objective. I think some managers, they have doubts. I don't know the word but they find it difficult to decide, they are almost decided and then you come with another idea. Then the clubs feel that you are not so sure about it. I was very objective from day one.

"I was not working since December. I watched Manchester United play many, many times. I had an idea about the squad and when I arrived I was ready to be objective.

"This is what I would like to have, decide the numbers for each position. So if you cannot get this one then you have the second, third or fourth. Every time I was making a written report to the board, I think the board could feel consistency in my analysis.

"The targets were there on the table, after that was the club power and they were very strong, they were very good and they did everything before August 14. They could have done August 30, but, no, they did it by August 14."

Press Association

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