Friday 20 September 2019

Jose Mourinho: Finishing my management career at United is impossible mission

Jose Mourinho joined Manchester United in 2016
Jose Mourinho joined Manchester United in 2016

Jose Mourinho has no intention of leaving Manchester United any time soon, but admits it will be an "impossible mission" to end his management career at Old Trafford.

After winning three trophies in his first season, the 54-year-old looks set to lead the club on their first genuine Premier League title charge since Sir Alex Ferguson departed.

United have been crying out for a figure like Mourinho since the Scot called time on his 27-year Old Trafford reign - the kind of longevity that the current incumbent does not believe is possible any more.

The Portuguese, synonymous with making a big impact over a short period in charge, dismissed the possibility of ending his managerial career at United over the weekend in an interview with French television, when he also spoke of his interest in Paris St Germain's project.

Mourinho downplayed what could be construed as public flirting ahead of Wednesday's Champions League Group A clash at Benfica, so too growing chatter that a new deal at United is being discussed.

"I think you (in the) English media, you have the answer for that,'' Mourinho said, when asked about how he saw his future.

"Because in one day it says that I'm going to sign a five-year contract, one-billion pounds per season and then the next day you say that I'm leaving and I'm going to Paris St Germain.

"I think that's the answer - the answer is that nothing is happening. I'm not signing a new five-year contract and I'm not leaving for Paris St Germain.

"I'm at Manchester United, I have a contract and that's it."

It is less than 17 months since Mourinho penned a three-year deal at Old Trafford, with the option to extend the contract until 2020.

"The only thing that I told and is true and there was not interpretation of my words is that I am not going to end my career at Manchester United," Mourinho said ahead of facing his former club Benfica.

"And I ask how is it possible in modern football that any manager is going to last 15-20 years in the same club?

"I think (Arsene) Wenger is the last one. I think it is impossible for us, with everything that surrounds the job, with all the pressure that surrounds every job. I think that it's impossible to last so long.

"If in this moment I want to finish my career in two, three, four or five years, I would say, yes, my ambition would be to end my career at Manchester United.

"I think I am going to be here 15 years minimum here in football, in the job, and I think it's impossible to stay 17 years in the same club.

"I think it's the impossible mission, even if you want, even if you try. Impossible.

"I think Arsene Wenger will be the last one to do that, so that was my answer: I don't think I'm going to end my career at Manchester United.

"After that, some people try to be clever, some people try to be malicious and they say many different things.

"But the reality is simple: I didn't sign a new contract, but I am not thinking about leaving too."

For all the talk of the long-term, the United boss says his "future is tomorrow" - a match against the Portuguese champions that he approaches without Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick.

The lack of midfield options is a particular problem and Mourinho has confirmed that Ander Herrera and former Benfica man Nemanja Matic will start at the Estadio da Luz, just days after battling for 90 minutes at Liverpool.

There were few moments of note during the drab 0-0 draw, although Reds defender Dejan Lovren accused Romelu Lukaku of deliberately flicking a boot into his face - action that avoided retrospective action from the Football Association.

"I read something," Mourinho said. "But there's a big contradiction there because he says 'let's move on and forget what happened' but then he spends 10 minutes speaking about what he thinks happened and didn't happen.

"So for me words without any meaning and the FA committee is there to analyse and to make decisions, and no comments (from me)."

PA Media

The Left Wing: Ireland's fullback dilemma, World Cup bonding and the squad standby list

Also in Sport