Football

Mourinho defends his United record in 12-minute rant

Portuguese manager insists that there has been progress under him despite Champions League last-16 exit

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho unleashed an impassioned defence of his work on Friday as he responded to critics of his team’s failure to make the last eight of the Champions League.

United’s exit at the hands of La Liga side Sevilla on Tuesday has led to intense criticism of the Portuguese manager who is in his second season at Old Trafford.

But Mourinho began a news conference, which was scheduled to preview their FA Cup quarter-final against Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday morning (Singapore time), by making his case that he took over a club that for all it’s oft-cited history was not competing at the highest level.

Reading from notes, a visibly angry Mourinho went through United’s recent record in Europe, season by season, staring at reporters after each point.

He then listed United’s finishes in the English Premier League, clearly annoyed at comments that his style was not suited to United’s ‘heritage’.

“Seven years with four different managers, once not qualify for Europe, twice out in the group phase and the best was the quarter-final, this is football heritage,” he said.

“And if you want to go to the Premier League, the last victory was 12-13 and in the four consecutive seasons United finish seventh, fourth, fifth and sixth. So in the last four years the best was fourth,” added Mourinho, who said he had no intention of changing his methods.

“I have an amazing job to do. I could be in another country with the league in the pocket, I am here and I am going to be here and no way am I going to change my mentality.

“I don’t know if you know the expression but there is a code that I like: every wall is a door. I am not going to run away or disappear or to cry because I heard a few boos,” he said, referring to the end of the Sevilla game when some United fans vented their frustration.

“I’m not going to disappear from the tunnel, running immediately. The next match I will be the first to go out. I am not afraid of my responsibilities.”

‘SAME PAGE’

Mourinho also rejected the suggestion, made in some newspaper reports, that senior figures at the club were beginning to doubt if he was the right man for the job.

“The good thing for me, and the amazing feeling for me, is that I am exactly on the same page as the owners, as Mr (Ed) Woodward, Mr (Richard) Arnold, we are on exactly the same page, we agree on everything, on the investments, we are exactly on the same page, so life is good,” he said.

The United boss added that he had always had critics even when he was winning and that they were now enjoying his difficulties.

“For 10 months, I win nothing. The last title that I won was 10 months ago. I beat Liverpool, Chelsea, I lose against Sevilla and now is their moment to be happy. I learn that in my religious formation, be happy with others' happiness, so be it, I am a really happy guy,” he said.

The former Real Madrid and Chelsea manager believed that his work was creating a better legacy for the next manager at Old Trafford.

“When I leave, the next Manchester United manager will find here (Romelu) Lukaku, (Nemanja) Matic, of course (David) de Gea from many years ago. They will find players with a different mentality, quality, background, with a different status, know-how.” – REUTERS

Jose MourinhoManchester United