Saturday 21 April 2018

Jose Mourinho: United know 'I am not the monster you say I am'

Mourinho: "People are quite happy to have me around and to work with me." Photo credit: Adam Davy/PA Wire

James Ducker

Jose Mourinho believes that his first nine months in charge of Manchester United have convinced the club he is not the "monster" some people perceive him to be and claims he has developed a close bond with the Old Trafford hierarchy.

Mourinho's critics questioned whether the Portuguese's brand of football and capacity for controversy made him the right fit for United upon his appointment as Louis van Gaal's successor.

Some of Mourinho's antics at Chelsea and Real Madrid landed him in frequent trouble with the authorities and he was once branded an "enemy of football" by UEFA in the wake of his criticism of referee Anders Frisk following a Champions league tie between Chelsea and Barcelona.

He was also rebuked for sticking a finger in the eye of Pep Guardiola's former assistant at Barcelona, Tito Vilanova, and his treatment of former Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro last season.

But the United manager believes his new employers have seen a different side of him.

"I think Manchester United learn I am not the monster that you say I am. I'm not such a bad guy, an arrogant guy, a difficult person to work with. At least until now nobody at the training ground runs away when I arrive, not even Karen (Shotbolt, the press officer)," Mourinho said.

"So I think I am better than you think. People are quite happy to have me around and to work with me. The relation with the players is very good and, with my owners and my board, the relation I don't think is just professional; it's also a relation of trust and a relation that goes further than the contract.

"My feeling is everyone is happy but obviously my contract is three years, not seven or eight months, and I want evolution and improvement."

United's style of play has gradually improved under Mourinho and they also appear to rediscovering some of the fear factor that was lost under Van Gaal and David Moyes.

Mourinho has consigned last Sunday's League Cup victory over Southampton firmly to the history books, with his focus firmly on navigating a hectic fixture schedule - starting with today's match against Bournemouth at Old Trafford.

"The League Cup is finished," he said. "Now we have the most crazy calendar fixtures that somebody can have but it's for good reasons."

Mourinho said that finishing second to Chelsea is a very achievable goal, with only five points separating the quintet on teams behind the leaders.

As for Zlatan Ibrahimovic's future, Mourinho said: "I see him staying with us. It's an amazingly successful season for him. The number of goals he's scored, the trophy he won, the impact he has had - it's more than enough to consider him a success.

"But this team has a lot to grow up. I think Zlatan will be fundamental in the second year of this team. I think he's willing to stay.

"The next transfer window will bring the team to a different level because we are going to try and bring in a few players."

Mourinho said he could not guarantee "100 per cent" that Wayne Rooney would stay at United beyond the summer but praised his captain's contribution and suggested that talk of the England captain returning to Everton was "nonsense."

"Since the moment he decided to stay and to help the team and to fight for Manchester United, he's an important player for us," said Mourinho. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Manchester Utd v Bournemouth, Live, Sky Sports 1, 12.30

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