Friday 24 May 2019

Mourinho: Spending rest of career at United 'impossible mission'

Jose Mourinho is committed to Manchester United until 2019. Photo: PA
Jose Mourinho is committed to Manchester United until 2019. Photo: PA

James Ducker

Jose Mourinho has insisted he has no plans to leave Manchester United but admitted there had been no talks over a new contract.

The United manager also sidestepped questions about his long-term future at Old Trafford and claimed it would be "mission impossible" to see out his career at the club ahead of their Champions League tie against Benfica in his native Portugal tonight.

Mourinho flirted publicly with Paris Saint-Germain in an interview in France last weekend, around the same time reports emerged that he could walk out of United amid claims he was frustrated with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward's handling of the club.

It was reported in September that Mourinho was expecting to be approached over extending his contract next month - the mid-point of his existing deal, which would explain why there have been no talks yet.

There is also the option in the contract to extend by a further 12 months to June 2020.

Some fans will wonder whether the timing and nature of Mourinho's interview with Telefoot, as well as his reported discontent with Woodward, are merely an attempt to strengthen his hand when it comes to contract negotiations.

But the only clarity Mourinho could offer yesterday when pressed was his insistence he would manage elsewhere after United because the days of a person staying at the club for decades were over.

"The only thing that I said, and is true, is I am not going to end my career at Manchester United," Mourinho said. "I ask how is it possible in modern football that any manager is going to last 15 or 20 years in the same club? I think (Arsene) Wenger (at Arsenal) is the last one to do that. It's an impossible mission.

"After that, some people try to be clever, malicious. But the reality is simple - I didn't sign a new contract, but I am not thinking about leaving, too."

When asked about the option of extending his contract, though, Mourinho added: "The answer... is that nothing is happening.

"I'm not signing a new five-year contract, and I am not leaving for PSG. The future in football is tomorrow."

Of more immediate concern is the game against a struggling Benfica, when victory would give leave United in pole position to qualify early.

Paul Pogba, Eric Bailly, Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick are all ruled out but Luke Shaw travelled to Lisbon and is available.

Marcos Rojo was also a surprise inclusion, although he will not play for another fortnight after six months out with a knee injury.

This will be United's first run-out since Mourinho attracted criticism for his defensive approach during the goalless draw against Liverpool.

A withering look crossed Mourinho's face when asked if the criticism was fair before he said: "I have just one comment - that's none."

Mourinho was forthcoming on the subject of Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren's claims he had been deliberately stamped on the head by United striker Romelu Lukaku.

"There is a contradiction there because he (Lovren) says, 'Let's move on and forget what happened' but then spends 10 minutes speaking about what he thinks happened. For me, they are words without any meaning," Mourinho said.

Benfica v Manchester United

Live, RTé 2 / BT Sport 2, 7.45

The Left Wing: Leinster's succession plan, Munster's missing piece and the art of contract negotiations

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport