Jose Mourinho claims he's 'the worst manager in history' as press event takes an odd turn
So much for that unwavering self-confidence. It would seem as though Jose Mourinho, football’s greatest antagonist, is just as vulnerable to the power of words as the rest of us.
Manchester United’s manager has not looked a happy camper this past fortnight and, after declining to do a press conference after their lumbering win over Northampton in the EFL Cup midweek, this afternoon’s encounter with the media ahead of tomorrow’s visit of Leicester City did not begin in the most genial manner.
United’s three consecutive losses - league defeats to Manchester City and Watford sandwiched by their undoing by Feyenoord in the Europa League, has certainly taken the sheen of a tenure that began so brightly.
Mourinho’s disposition has been oddly familiar of late, an unmistakable blend of paranoia and surliness, and he gives the impression of a man not quite happy with his current station.
Leicester arrive at Old Trafford led by the man the Portuguese replaced at Chelsea, Claudio Ranieri, with just two wins from their first five league games, having yet to resume the form that made them such worthy champions last term.
Indeed, the difficulty of retaining the Premier League was put to Mourinho, given just his current team, under Alex Ferguson, and the Chelsea side he guided, are the only clubs to do so.
He didn’t hesitate to take aim at those he believes to be dismissing his credentials.
"History says that not many teams in Premier League history did that. One was Man United, another one was some team managed by the worst manager in the history of football."
Furthermore, the former Real boss went on to praise his forthcoming opponents, but not without noting their apparent crude style of play.
"They won the league because they were very good and they are still very good. I think they are a very easy team to analyse because their defensive process and attacking organisation are clear, but it is very difficult to cope with it. Easy to understand but difficult to play against."
For those Manchester United fans wondering if ambitions have been tempered in light of recent developments, the manager remained as bold as he was on the day of his unveiling.
"The first game is the same as the one that mathematically decides everything. I've always said since day one that my title ambitions are a motivational factor, a way of living. I don’t understand to be in this club and give a different message but I knew and I admitted immediately that was a very risky approach."
He did confirm that Anthony Martial will play no part tomorrow after the injury he sustained against Watford, while Luke Shaw (groin) and Henrikh Mkhitaryan (thigh) are back in contention for the squad, but Phil Jones (knee) remains absent.
Additional reporting by PA