Thursday 23 November 2017

'This is a sign of a team that want to win' - Bullish Jose Mourinho says Manchester United only have one objective

Marcus Rashford celebrates and (right) Jose Mourinho
Marcus Rashford celebrates and (right) Jose Mourinho
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

It has taken just three games for Jose Mourinho to transform Manchester United into a side that look ready to be Premier League champions all over again.

Marcus Rashford’s 92nd minute winner continued Mourinho’s perfect start to the Premier League season, with the manner of their victory reminiscent of the kind of wins that used to be secured by Alex Ferguson’s all-conquering United teams.

Rashford’s goal arrived in what used to be known as ‘Fergie time’, yet this latest win suggests the mantle of United manager has finally be handed to s suitable successor.

As United battered Hull’s defensive line in the final half an hour of a game that was played in torrential rain, this felt like a team that had faith they would find a winner in the end, just as this club did when Ferguson was patrolling their touchline.

United didn’t have this aura when Louis van Gaal was their manager last season, but all that has changed with Mourinho in charge, as this serial winner has brought his mentality into a dressing room that needed revitalising.

“We believe until this last minute and this is a sign of a team that want to win,” said a bullish Mourinho, in an interview with BT Sport.

“Our objective is to be only one; to be champions. We have to play to win every game and the mentality is there, the boys are giving everything.

“We have changed the team, changed the dynamic, change the way people think about football, also the way we think day by day in the club.

“I know Mr Van Gaal so well because we work together and we are so different in many ways, but change is not always easy.

“If you arrive at the club and the players are closed, it is difficult to change, but the players were open. They were waiting to give everything and we are playing different football now.”

Mourinho went on to explain the change of style he has promoted, in comments that confirmed he believes he now has a squad in place to challenge for major honours.

“When a ball goes to a full-back, you see what we did last season and what we did before. The full-back can be a trigger to start an attack, that is what we are trying to do,” he continued.

“Defensively, we don’t play man to man, we play zonal and I am really happy with the evolution of the team.

“My solutions on the bench are very good. I kept Ashley Young on the bench, I kept Memphis Depay at home and the players are better than what they showed last season.

“We have bought well, but the players are better than what they showed last season, so we are in a good direction.

“We might not be consistent. We might be down as that is the evolution of the team, but we do not have any more players in the transfer market.

“I want to go to the Europa League with a good squad. Imagine I change my four defenders and I have (Matteo) Damian, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo. I rest players and I play with four new.

“Or I rest Ibra, Mata and Martial and I play Marcus Rashford, Mkhitaryan and Ashley Young.

“I want to keep everyone and we have a very good squad. I can rest so many players and bring more in. It is a privileged to work with these players.”

The United manager then offered up these words of praise for his teenage match-winner:

“Marcus Rashford has a lot of chances waiting for him. When the team was chasing the ball against Leicester in the Community Shield and tonight, he made a difference for us.

“He gives new problems to the opposition so I am really happy with him and the team. Even defensively, we controlled their counter attack.

Mourinho could barely wipe the smile from his face as he revels in what he openly admits is his dream job.

United and Mourinho have long appeared to made for each other and just three Premier League games into their fledgling relationship, it is evident that this may be a marriage that will produce thrilling rewards.

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