Sport Soccer

Tuesday 22 January 2019

Jose Mourinho blames his own high standards for criticism of Manchester United

Jose Mourinho takes his team to Huddersfield this weekend
Jose Mourinho takes his team to Huddersfield this weekend

Jose Mourinho believes his history of success creates a rod for his own back and leads to scrutiny that many managers do not have to face.

Manchester United enter the weekend second in the Premier League and on the cusp of reaching the Champions League knock-out phase.

However, style has been questioned as much as substance this term, especially after manager Mourinho's side followed up their lifeless goalless draw at Liverpool with a narrow midweek win at Benfica.

"I think it's my fault," Mourinho said of the criticism. "Because people are used to my teams getting good results and winning titles.

"Other people have more time than I have. Other people have different standards than I have and that's not a problem for me at all.

"We are going to lose matches, that's obvious, and I can imagine we are going to have even more criticism than we have now. But, honestly, no problem."

Asked if such criticism can motivate, Mourinho said: "No, it's not a motivation. It doesn't change my mind or my stability.

"We work hard, we try to do the best we can and get the best possible results.

"In relation to the last match, speaking about the Champions League I would like to know - because I don't know - when United last won two consecutive matches away.

"I would like to know the last time United won nine points from three matches in the Champions League. We are doing OK."

Despite the background noise, Mourinho is "really happy with what the team is doing" ahead of Saturday's trip to Huddersfield - a match they approach without several first-team players.

The United boss underlined how many other Premier League managers complain about such problems after his injury-hit side won at Benfica on Wednesday.

Those comments got under the skin of Chelsea's Antonio Conte, who said Mourinho "has to think about his team" rather than what is happening at his old club.

The United boss believes Conte may have got the wrong end of the stick, but stuck to his guns about managers moaning about injuries.

"Our philosophy is not to moan, not to cry," Mourinho said. "I moan and cry about other things. I moan about the fixtures, moan about no time to rest.

"I moan about why I don't understand why we play Saturday after Wednesday when we should play Sunday. I moan about this all the time, but not about injuries.

"When managers say I moan about the fixtures then he is right, but nobody can say I moan about injuries because I always try to speak about opportunities for other players."

Scott McTominay, who signed a deal until at least 2021 on Friday, has benefited from the injury problems that leave United without Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick and Paul Pogba.

The latter has been out for five weeks with a hamstring injury that Mourinho has only said is a "long-term" problem.

The France international seems to be making good progress judging by his social media posts, but Mourinho is none the wiser as to Pogba's return date.

"If you ask if he can play next week against Tottenham then I don't know," said Mourinho of Pogba.

"I'm not telling you 'no' then he plays, and then you say I lied. I really don't know.

"I expect Eric Bailly to be back next week. I cannot tell you about Fellaini or Pogba."

Asked why Pogba was undergoing rehabilitation in the United States, Mourinho added: "You will have to ask Dr (Steve) McNally. He (as club doctor) is responsible for that.

"I'm in control of the players who are available.

"I'm not happy or unhappy (about where he recovers). It's not my responsibility."

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