Wednesday 28 June 2017

Manchester life ‘a disaster’ for homesick Jose

Red Devils boss finds himself under constant siege in hotel

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. Photo credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. Photo credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

James Ducker

Jose Mourinho has claimed living in Manchester has been a "bit of a disaster" so far as he painted a frustrating picture of life in a goldfish bowl.

The Manchester United manager's mood will not have been improved by the news ahead of tonight's EFL Cup fourth-round tie at home to Manchester City that centre-half Eric Bailly has been ruled out for two months with lateral knee ligament damage suffered against Chelsea last Sunday.

Bailly could miss United's next 13 matches at least as he targets a Christmas return, but Mourinho then faces the prospect of losing the Ivory Coast defender for a further six weeks because of the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon in January and February, with a potential club-versus-country row on the horizon.

United are under extra pressure to beat City tonight after that 4-0 humiliation by Chelsea that extended their run to one win in six Premier League games.

Compounded

Mourinho has had his on-pitch troubles compounded by off-field woes about his living arrangements near Manchester city centre.

The United manager has been billeted in a suite at the Lowry Hotel in Salford - a stone's throw from Manchester's main Deansgate high street - since taking over at Old Trafford and is starting to tire of the persistent hordes of paparazzi camped outside the five-star venue, whose eagerness to track his every move has often left him loath to go out.

Read more: United boss Jose Mourinho labels life in Manchester a 'disaster'

"You know the history of the paparazzi - for the hotel and the brand that sponsors me, the clothes brand. It is amazing, because they are there every day," he said.

"Everybody knows the name of the hotel. Everybody knows the last arrivals of that brand. So for them, it is amazing.

"For me it's a bit of a disaster, because I want sometimes to walk a little bit and I can't. I just want to cross the bridge and go to a restaurant. I can't, so it is really bad. But I have my apps and I can ask for food to also be delivered."

Mourinho is searching for an apartment to buy, but despite joking that would present its own problems because he "can't cook" - and amid the attempts to make light of being cooped up in his hotel room - the Portuguese is known to be increasingly frustrated and unhappy about being so far from his wife, Tami, and children, Matilde and Jose Jnr, who have remained in London.

"The reality is that my daughter will be 20 next week, my son will be 17 in a couple of months," he added. "They are very stable. University in London. Football in London. Friends.

"They are at an age where they can't chase me like they did before. So for the first time the family lives in a different way."

City manager Pep Guardiola has raised the prospect of playing a number of youngsters at Old Trafford as he plans to rotate his side, and claimed he was more convinced than ever after the 50-minute dressing-room inquest following last Sunday's 1-1 draw at home to Southampton that his players have bought fully into his methods.

But Mourinho believes he had Guardiola rattled in the second half of their league meeting at Old Trafford last month, when United lost 2-1, and that their performance after the interval has provided a blueprint of how best to tackle City tonight.

After a calamitous opening period, Mourinho introduced Ander Herrera as an extra man in midfield and asked his players to press City high up the field.

Guardiola responded by replacing his centre-forward, Kelechi Iheanacho, with defensive midfielder Fernando just eight minutes into the second half as City started to kick the ball long.

Emboldened

Mourinho has been emboldened since by the success Celtic, Barcelona, Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton have had pressing Guardiola's defence during City's five-game winless streak, but his rival is convinced his team are on the right track.

"When I spoke with the players individually (after Southampton), my feeling is they are happy," said Guardiola, who could involve youngsters Pablo Maffeo and Aleix Garcia but is without the injured Kevin De Bruyne.

"I think people have enjoyed the way we play - and the players, too. So of course we have to improve when we give the opponent the ball on the penalty spot (as John Stones did for Southampton's goal).

"We need to differentiate between when we can play and when we can't." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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