Saturday 16 December 2017

How Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has warmed to the press

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho made a statement with his shirt after the sacking of Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho made a statement with his shirt after the sacking of Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri

Jose Mourinho has not always been at his sunniest since taking the top job at Manchester United and his early days in post were marked by some sullen appearances before the press.

But since the turn of the year he has seemingly adopted a more light-hearted tone, perhaps happier with the direction the Red Devils are taking as the season enters its closing stages.

Here Press Association Sport picks out five examples of Mourinho's mellowing mood in front of the media.

WHEN A HAIRCUT MEANS WAR

Mourinho showed up before his side's EFL Cup semi-final second leg against Hull with a severe new crew cut - a style he has previously adopted to show his sides are "ready for war". He went on to describe the ability to regrow his longer locks in the space of a month as "a privilege" before noting to assembled journalists that "some of you can't do it". The Portuguese then offered a high five to a bald scribe as he left.

PANTOMIME PRESS CONFERENCE

When Mourinho flat out denied that Hull had beaten United 2-1 at the KC Stadium it could easily be seen as the work of a grumpy refusenik. But his side were on the way to the final courtesy of their home victory and there was something knowingly amusing - in an 'oh no they didn't' ... 'oh yes they did' kind of way - about his contention that "18 matches unbeaten is amazing".

CALL WAITING

The trope of manager answering journalist's phone is increasingly common now the devices are routinely used as audio recorders but Mourinho may not have been expected to indulge on the eve of his side's clash with rivals Liverpool. Instead of being annoyed, he playfully answered and briefly acted as a go between between caller and recipient before handing it over.

MONOGRAM MESSAGE

Not since Kenny Dalglish joined his Liverpool squad in wearing an ill-fitting t-shirt with a crudely transferred image of Luis Suarez across the midriff has a manager made such a curious sartorial statement as Mourinho did following Claudio Ranieri's sacking. Having already offered support via Instagram, he went one step further by turning up for his media duties with the initials CR affixed to his chest, dialling the melodrama up to 11.

PRE-EMPTIVE ATTACK

Mourinho is not a manager who pretends to have no interest in what is written or said about his side. Indeed, he often plays with it very deliberately. On arrival for his pre-Bournemouth briefing the Portuguese - no doubt correctly - guessed that the status of Wayne Rooney and Luke Shaw would be firmly on the news agenda and offered an uninvited soliloquy on the England pair before a question had been uttered.

Press Association

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