Friday 19 July 2019

‘I’m still one of the greatest,’ says defiant Mourinho

The Portuguese suffered a 3-0 home defeat to Tottenham on Monday.

Jose Mourinho’s United have had a difficult season so far (Nick Potts/PA)
Jose Mourinho’s United have had a difficult season so far (Nick Potts/PA)

By Matt Slater, Press Association Chief Sports Reporter

Jose Mourinho has dismissed speculation about his future at Manchester United by restating his belief that he is “one of the greatest managers in the world”.

The 55-year-old, who introduced himself to English football in 2004 as “the special one”, told reporters on Friday that he would still be special even if he fails at United.

“I am the manager of the one of the greatest clubs in the world but I’m also one of the greatest managers in the world,” said Mourinho.

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Mourinho endured a miserable Monday against Tottenham (Nick Potts/PA)

“I repeat, I have won eight titles (as a manager). I’m the only manager to win in Italy, Spain and England.

“Not small titles, proper titles, and my second (place finish with United) last season was one of my greatest achievements in football.”

The Portuguese boss was speaking four days after his worst home defeat as a manager, United’s 3-0 loss to Tottenham at Old Trafford – a result that leaves them in 13th place in the Premier
League, six points behind Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea and Watford, and four points behind last season’s champions Manchester City.

Mourinho, however, repeated the sentiments he expressed on Monday night – that his side played well against the Londoners and the mood in the camp is high.

“I was really humbled by the response from the fans and the team really felt that support, too,” he said.

“And because of that, this was not a difficult week at all, we feel we deserved more than we got.”

He also made it clear he has lost no confidence in his own ability.

“Do you read philosophy? Just to give Hegel as an example: the truth is in the whole,” he said.

This reference to the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was part of his answer about his overall record: championships at Porto, Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid.

He also reminded the room of United’s 2017 Europa League victory in his first season at the club and again claimed that finishing 19 points behind City was “fantastic”, particularly compared to those managers who finished behind him – men he believes are given an easier ride by the media.

In regards to Sunday’s game at Burnley, Mourinho said only that it was another “difficult game”.

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Mourinho, left, and Burnley boss Sean Dyche go head to head this weekend (Martin Rickett/PA)

He was at Burnley’s Europa League defeat to Olympiakos on Thursday and
said the Lancashire side were unlucky not to win, given the number of chances they produced.

He admitted that he did not learn much else, though, as Burnley boss Sean Dyche rested several first-team players with an eye to kick-starting a Premier League campaign that has only brought them one point from three games so far.

Mourinho also had little to add on United’s contract talks with France forward Anthony Martial, saying only “nothing is official yet”.

There were slightly warmer words for Luke Shaw, though, whose return to the England set-up he put down to the left-back’s development into a “proper footballer, by which I mean a player of consistency”.

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