Sunday 19 November 2017

Jose Mourinho says he's restoring Man United's traditions of 'beautiful football' but admits that wins must come

Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic

James Ducker

Jose Mourinho believes he is making strides towards banishing the memories of the failed David Moyes and Louis van Gaal regimes by ­restoring the traditions of “beautiful football” at Manchester United.

United produced some of their best attacking football since Sir Alex Ferguson retired 3½ years ago to brush aside a poor West Ham United and sweep into the EFL Cup semi-finals, where they will face Hull City over two legs next month, thanks to two goals apiece from ­Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Anthony Martial.

Mourinho has been frustrated at his team’s inability to turn a number of strong showings against Stoke City, Burnley, Arsenal and West Ham into victories in the Premier League in recent weeks. But the United manager expressed hope that this resounding triumph over Slaven Bilic’s side would signal the start of his team being more ruthless in front of goal after seeing too many chances spurned of late.

“I think we are in the right direction, we played very well and that makes me happy,” Mourinho said. “One of the things I proposed to myself was to come to a club like Manchester United and play the kind of football that people want. It’s Man U tradition. I’m really happy with that.

“That’s our way of playing. Every manager has his ideas. The players can help or not help to make a certain style of play. That’s what we propose at United. I’ve never had a team with so much possession, so much creation, so many chances, but I never had a team with so many draws.

“I want this beautiful team to win more matches. We need to score more goals like this. Playing beautiful attacking football – that is something the fans like – but we need results. So goals plus performance means the real happiness.”

Mourinho is thought to have watched the game from his office near the Old Trafford dressing room after being given a one-match touchline ban in the hours before the game as punishment for booting a water bottle during Sunday’s 1-1 draw at home to West Ham in the league.

“Secret,” Mourinho said when asked where he watched the match. “I was in contact with the bench. At half-time I could be face to face with the players and I trust my people, my assistants to pass the information on that we need.”

Mourinho is confident supporters will soon see the best of Henrikh Mkhitaryan after an impressive display from the Armenia midfielder. “I’m so happy today ­because today it was against a Premier League team with Premier League qualities and that showed his evolution,” Mourinho said. “We know the reason why we bought him, we were waiting for his adaptation and it looks like it’s coming.”

Mourinho was less impressed that Rooney was given a yellow card – his fifth of the season – for dissent that rules him out of Sunday’s league game against Everton at Goodison Park.

“Rooney is suspended for a ball when he did not touch the opponent and he cannot play against Everton, he cannot go back home for such a big match because of a situation where he didn’t touch the opponent,” the manager said.

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