New Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho gave his first official press conference in the role today at Old Trafford.
Never one to hold back, he started off by saying what United meant to him as a manager: “I arrive into a club that is difficult to describe. I don’t like the nomination that many people use, ‘dream job.’ This is reality — I am Manchester United manager.
“It is a job that everyone wants and not many have had the chance to have. I have it. I know the responsibility, expectation and the legacy of this club. I know what the fans expect from me.”
He dismissed the idea that coming to United in its current state was daunting, even though the club finished fifth in the Premier League last season and missed out on next season’s Champion’s League:
“This challenge doesn’t make me nervous, it comes in the right moment for my career. I have great motivation. I am where I want to be. I want to be in this club, in this county, in the domestic cups. Manchester United is a Champions League club. In July 2017, instead of waiting for Europa League play-offs, we make sure this club is where it is meant to be — the Champions League.”
“Playing well is to score more goals than the opponent, concede less goals, and to make your fans proud. We want everything at the same time. This is an aggressive approach. I want everything.”
Mourinho could not resist having a dig at rival manager, Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger, saying that anything but the best was not good enough for him:
“There are some managers, the last time they won a title was 10 years ago. I feel I have to prove — not to the others — to myself. I will never be able to work without success. That’s my nature. If I have something to prove, imagine the others! To finish fourth is not the aim. I play against myself.”
He then moved on to addressing his relationship with ex-United manager Alex Ferguson, saying he would always welcome the coaching legend’s advice:
“He told me ‘Bring the umbrella… and the wine.’ We are going to have many occasions to be together. I cannot see him this week but when his summer holidays are finished we will have lots of time to be together. He will always be welcomed to the training ground, we have to share a lot of personal stuff. Obviously, his opinion is an important opinion.”
He was also open to a reconciliation with ex-United player and assistant manager Ryan Giggs, who quit the club after 29 years:
“It’s not my fault. Ryan wanted to be manager and the club, for reasons they can tell you, they decided the job was for me. He made a decision where you need to be brave.
“If one day he wants to be back to the club while I am here I would never stop him from coming back.”
Mourinho seemed at his most excited commenting on potential squad changes, saying that United’s third signing — likely to be Borussia Dortmund’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan — “will be official soon.” He also hinted that a deal France’s Paul Pogba was also in the pipeline. So far United have signed Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ivory Coast defender Eric Bailly.