How Manchester United Unveiled José Mourinho – As it happened!
A bullish José Mourinho stated he wants to win the title, get the team playing well and promote youth for Manchester United, during an official unveiling as manager in which the Portuguese also aimed a barb at Louis van Gaal by being clear there will be no hiding behind “philosophies”.
Rolling updates: José Mourinho brought a list of debutants and pointed barbs at Louis van Gaal for his first press conference as Manchester United manager. Alan Smith covered it live
Mourinho was appointed as the successor to Van Gaal, who constantly referenced his managerial philosophy when he held the role, on 27 May. The 53-year-old meets the first group of his players on Wednesday.
Asked what his hopes are for United, Mourinho said: “Depends on the way you want to face it. I was never very good playing with the words or hiding behind words and hiding behind philosophies. I never tried to be good at that. I was always much more aggressive in my approach with the risks that can bring. It would be easy – and even honest and pragmatic – to focus on the last three years, on the fact that we don’t qualify for Champions League and so on, and be quite pragmatic to say: ‘Let’s work and try and be back to the Champions League, try and be back to the top four.’
“I prefer to be more aggressive and say we want to win. What is playing well? It is scoring more goals than the opponents, conceding less, making your fans proud because you give everything and you win. It is everything at the same time. It is an aggressive approach by myself. I want everything. Of course we are not going to get everything but we want to.”
Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea in December but dismissed any notion of having to show his worth again.
Starting with an apparent dig at Arsenal’s Arsène Wenger he said: “There are some managers … the last time they won a title was 10 years ago. Some of them, the last time they won a title was never. The last time I won a title was one year ago [with Chelsea], not 10 years ago or 15 years ago, so if I have a lot to prove, imagine the others. But the reality is that was never important for me. I play against myself. That is my feeling many times.
“I feel I have to prove not to the others but to myself. I would never be able to work without success. That is my nature and I have always to find the reasons why I have always many questions towards myself and the people working with me. That is my nature. I could approach this job in a defensive point of view by saying the last three years the best we did was fourth. I can’t go – it is my nature.
“Manchester United – for many years success was just routine and in this moment the last three years are to forget. I want the players to forget. I don’t want the players to think we have to do better and finish fourth. Finishing fourth is not the aim.”
Mourinho was also clear about the departure of Ryan Giggs, who has left the clubafter a 29-year association, and where Wayne Rooney will play. “About Ryan, let me finish – I never run away about my responsibility. It is not my responsibility that Ryan is not in the club. The job Ryan wanted is the job the club decided to give me.
“Ryan wanted to be Manchester United manager and the owners, Mr [Ed] Woodward [executive vice-chairman] decided to give the job to me. So when you are speaking about ‘Did I offer him a job?’. He could be what he wanted in the club. The club wanted to give him any important job in the club. It happened with myself in Barcelona in 2000 – I had a contract for another two years. It was not easy to go to another fight. For Ryan it is not easy to go the step from assistant to manager – it is the step to leave his house of 29 [years]. He was brave, he is honest – so good luck. If one day he wants to come back when I am here, and if one day the club offers him the chance to be manager, I think it will be something natural and the consequence of his success in his career.”
On Rooney he said: “In football there are many jobs. There are many jobs on the field. The one that is more difficult to find is the guy who has put the ball on the net. The players change during the years – their qualities, their characteristics. It is normal a player changes a bit but there is something that will never change which is the natural appetite to put the ball in the net.
“Maybe he is not a striker, not a No9 any more, but for me he will never be a No6, playing 50 metres from the goal. You can tell me his pass is amazing but my pass is also amazing without pressure. To be there and put the ball in the net is the most difficult thing. For me he will be a 9, a 10, a nine and a half – but never a 6 or an 8.”
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