Jose Mourinho on the difference between him and LVG, pressure and how Zlatan can help Marcus Rashford
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has offered up an exclusive interview to BT Sport, as he prepares for his first game as the club’s manager this weekend. Independent.ie brings you the best bits here, before the full interview is aired on Wednesday night.
Jose Mourinho on feeling pressure:
No. I feel the responsibility, as I mentioned of the job. It’s obviously a worldwide attention. I feel that in the city of Manchester, people feel the club with such a passion. I feel the responsibility, yes, but not the pressure. To be fair in football, I always had big jobs on my hands, ever since Porto. Porto were a big club in Portugal and I had some of the biggest clubs in England, in Spain, in Italy and I live and learn how to live with that responsibility. I think it’s good for me because it’s a way to motivate myself, to feel this good feeling that when I don’t have it, I miss it.
Jose Mourinho on how different it feels to manage Manchester United:
I think every job is a different job but the reality is that every club that I go out to is a club with clear objectives. When I go to Inter, they were dreaming of the Champions League for 50 years. When I go to Real Madrid they were desperate to stop Barcelona’s dominance. When I got to Chelsea for the first time, the club was dreaming about the first title under the new owner. The second time the club was in an empty period of Premier League titles and then I came here with a difficult period of three years, where the FA Cup was great but the fact that in the past three years we couldn’t qualify twice for the Champions League. So clear objectives are in my hands.
Jose Mourinho on Manchester United’s objective this season:
Man United has to be in the Champions League. I think that the Champions League is empty when Man United is not there. Imagine the Champions League without Man United, Real Madrid, Barcelona. There are a certain numbers of clubs that make it not a Champions League without these clubs. That’s Man United and their natural habitat.
I wouldn’t be happy with just finishing in the top 4. I would be happy with that but plus a greater evolution in the team in terms of our evolved football. Opening the door for in the next couple of years back to winning titles. I don’t like to go to the players and tell them ‘let’s try to finish in the top four’ - let’s try to win every game. We don’t and we know that, especially in this country, at this moment it is impossible for anyone. But to have that as a starting point, let’s go to every game and try to win every game. But I think a big club like we are, we need to have this mentality.
Jose Mourinho on his first perception of the Manchester United team:
The process is to know the players even before I work with them, which is not a huge difficulty because it is a country that I have been working for the past 3 years, that I watch every weekend on TV, that I watch every match and played against them many times - so basically I know the players. I was without a job since December. I watched football and I analysed the teams.
I try, for example with Man United, to learn as much as possible about them, so I know the team they were and I know the team I want them to be. To be the team I want them to be we need a few players to adapt to my way of seeing football. The difficulty of the job for me is that I’m so different from Mr Van Gaal. I’m not saying I’m better, I’m saying different.
Are you struggling to change the mindset instilled into Man Utd players by Van Gaal?
When we played against each other Inter against Bayern in the Champions League Final, he said our teams are very different and he is correct. When we play Manchester United against Chelsea, he was repeating the same, we are so different and for me to get a team under his ideas for two years, we are in the moment with some functional contradictions. The players have their own identity, but the best players find it easy to adapt to the managers ideas and principals. I am in the period where I need time, but we don’t have time, so I think during the competition we are going to have to improve and every match, with every mistake we make, with every good thing we make too, it will be our learning curve.
Jose Mourinho on where Man United will be in six months:
The dream is to win matches, to win lots of matches and you cannot do that without playing very well. What is playing very well? That depends on the way people think. To me, to play very well means to score one more than the opponent.
Jose Mourinho on Zlatan Ibrahimovic:
I think probably the other players are surprised. Not me because I know him. But probably the other players are surprised. Not with his quality, because the quality everybody knows. Probably a bit with his commitment and motivation because we are speaking about a 34-year-old man that won so much in his career, but probably even more surprised with the person. He is a good guy. What he looks like, it is not what he is. The words he says, he says for fun. He is the guy capable to go to the kitman and say ‘please give a towel to God’ and then laugh, laugh, laugh, laugh and laugh.
The image he sells is not him, he is a good guy. He is brilliant with the young boys. I think for Rashford this is a gift. People can say he is not going to play every game from the start, like in the second part of last season, but this is a gift for the kid, too. We are so happy to have him and for two years, probably the last two years of his career, he probably couldn’t find a bigger league to finish his career and we couldn’t find a better striker in this moment of our building process of our team. We couldn’t find a better striker than him to give us the stability we need.
Watch the full interview with Jose Mourinho on BT Sport 1 from 10pm tomorrow/tonight. BT Sport is the only place to watch all four major football competitions in one place, with exclusively live coverage of the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and the Emirates FA Cup.