Wednesday 13 December 2017

'I'm far too young to move to China' - Mourinho

Jose Mourinho kept a close eye on Ashley Young but admits he didn’t give him a run of matches to prove himself Picture: AFP/Getty
Jose Mourinho kept a close eye on Ashley Young but admits he didn’t give him a run of matches to prove himself Picture: AFP/Getty

James Ducker

Jose Mourinho says he has no interest in a money-spinning move to China but would jump at the chance to extend his contract at Manchester United.

United's hierarchy are delighted with the impact Mourinho has made since taking over at Old Trafford in May and are already keen for the manager to stay beyond his existing three-year deal, a wish shared by the Portuguese.

"They always gave me the feeling that three years is not the time I'm going to stay, I always had the feeling I am going to stay for longer," he said.

"They know that I'm loving it at every level and I know that if one day they bring a new contract I sign it because I'm loving it.

"China money is attractive for everyone but I love more my football at the highest level. I'm too young - 53 - have too many years of football to go to a place like China."

Mourinho, however, has admitted that he holds regrets over not giving a number of Manchester United's peripheral players a chance to prove themselves at the club since joining over the summer.

The Portuguese coach, who was unveiled as the United coach in July, immediately set about implementing his unique style of management upon arrival at the club.

A number of United's stars who had featured under former coach Louis van Gaal, such as Ashley Young and Memphis Depay, were subsequently pushed to the fringes of the Old Trafford squad as Mourinho placed his faith in the club's new signings.

Depay, who signed for £31m in June 2015, has made just four Premier League appearances under Mourinho while former Watford winger Ashley Young has featured in five.

Confessed

In contrast, the pair had made 13 and 11 appearances respectively this time last year under Van Gaal.

But speaking in a recent interview with Sky Sports, Mourinho confessed he's developed "bad feelings" after failing to give these players a "real chance".

"I still have some bad feelings towards myself because I didn't give a real chance to everyone, there are some positions in our squad where we have overbooked," he said.

"The attacking wing positions we have not just a few wingers but also people who can play there: we can add (Marcus) Rashford and (Wayne) Rooney to players like (Jesse) Lingard, (Juan) Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Memphis Depay, (Anthony) Martial and Ashley Young.

"To be honest, people like Young and Depay, I didn't really give them a run of matches to play, to prove. So I have this little bad feeling."

Bastian Schweinsteiger is another high-profile United star to have suffered under Mourinho's tenure.

The World Cup-winner, who joined for a reported £14.4m, has been pushed out into the cold at Old Trafford having spent a significant amount of time with the club's reserve team.

Schweinsteiger has made just one appearance this season - in United's 4-1 rout of West Ham in the EFL Cup.

Nonetheless, Mourinho expressed his relief that players such as Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones have both managed to develop as first-team players under his watch.

"In relation to Marcos and Phil Jones the injury situation opened the door for them. The way they were working in training sessions has given them the condition to go into the game and start immediately well.

"I am really pleased with both: Marcus because he was a player considered by many without the quality to be a Manchester United player.

"Phil was [seen as] a stampede, injury-prone player without the conditions to be back to the good Phil Jones of the past, so I was very happy for them."

Mourinho has spoken before of Jones' recent revival and suggested that the defender's rise to form can be credited to the new medical team the Portuguese brought with him to United.

"Even with me he had injuries that stopped him for a long time," he said. "He was recovering first with the people he trusted in medical department.

"Then for about three weeks before he joined us he worked with my physio. There was a big improvement in condition.

"Now he looks fresh, sharp, fast, agile." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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