Jose Mourinho tells Manchester United supporters 'I am here to win'
Jose Mourinho strode into Old Trafford yesterday and told Manchester United's players and fans to forget about the misery of the past three years under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal by focusing on a rich future with him at the helm.
In a slick charm offensive that struck an immediate chord with United supporters who had tired of the negative rhetoric of Moyes and Van Gaal, the former Chelsea manager vowed to give "absolutely everything" to return this "giant club" to the summit of English and European football sooner rather than later.
United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward had hailed Mourinho as "quite simply the best manager in the game today" in an immediate shot across the bows of neighbours Manchester City, who have appointed the Portuguese's bitter adversary, Pep Guardiola, as their new head coach.
Mourinho, who has signed a three-year contract with the option of a further 12 months that would tie him to Old Trafford until June 2020, claimed "giant clubs must be for the best managers".
The 53-year-old also insisted on repeatedly using the collective "we" as he spelt out his ambitions to supporters and a squad that has consistently underwhelmed since the retirement of Alex Ferguson three years ago.
"We can look at our club now in two perspectives," Mourinho said in a short but punchy interview with MUTV, the club's official television station, two hours after his appointment was confirmed.
"One perspective is the past three years and another perspective is the club's history. I prefer to forget the last three years.
"I prefer to focus on the giant club I have in my hands now and I think what the fans are expecting me to say is that I want to win. I think what the players need to listen to is: 'I want to win'.
"And more than that, I need the supporters and the players to feel that I say that, not just for the sake of saying it, but because I think we really can.
"I want to focus on the history of this giant club and give what I have and what I don't have, so I will give absolutely everything to try to go in the direction we all want."
In the statement that accompanied the announcement of his appointment at 9.30am yesterday, Mourinho (above) - who has also managed Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Porto - spoke about the "mystique and romance" of United "which no other club can match".
He claimed he had "always enjoyed a rapport with the United fans" and expanded on that in his subsequent television interview when he claimed his declaration that United deserved to win their Champions League round-of-16 tie against Real Madrid in 2013 went down badly with the Spanish club's supporters.
United made a point at the top of their welcome statement of stressing the 22 trophies Mourinho has won since 2003.
Announcing the news, Woodward said: "Jose is quite simply the best manager in the game today. He has won trophies and inspired players in countries across Europe and he knows the Premier League very well, having won three titles here."
Some will argue it has taken United three years to appoint the only man capable of succeeding Ferguson, but the landscape is now a different one to that vacated by Ferguson in 2013.
The Portuguese will be given the freedom to get on with the job at Old Trafford - he will have control of the club from top to bottom.
Only time will whether it proves to be too much of a good thing. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
Key summer dates for the special one
JUNE 6: Eva Carneiro employment tribunal.
Mourinho could be called to appear at the tribunal in Croydon following the former Chelsea doctor's acrimonious departure from Stamford Bridge last season. The tribunal could run until June 24.
JULY 4: Pre-season starts
Those United players not on Euro 2016 or Copa America duty due to report back to the Aon Training Centre at Carrington for day one of the Mourinho era.
JULY 19: Eastern promise
United will fly to Shanghai for the first-leg of their two-game tour.
JULY 22: The first game
Borussia Dortmund will provide the opposition for Mourinho's first game - an International Champions Cup tie in Shanghai.
JULY 25: Jose v Pep: The Sequel
Mourinho will renew hostilities with old foe Pep Guardiola for the first time since the pair clashed during their time in charge of Real Madrid and Barcelona when United face Manchester City in Beijing's Bird's Nest Stadium.
AUG 3: Old Trafford curtain-raiser
Mourinho will manage United at Old Trafford for the first time during Wayne Rooney's testimonial against Everton. The date is still to be confirmed, with August 3 the most likely.
AUG 7: The first trophy?
United will face Leicester City at Wembley in the Community Shield.
AUG 13: Big kick-off
Premier League gets under way. The fixtures for the new season will be announced on June 15.