In Depth

Mourinho outlines his Man Utd plan - 'I want to win'

New manager vows to get side back to Champions League as he makes his first Old Trafford press conference

Pep Guardiola took charge of his first training session at Manchester City on Tuesday, just as Jose Mourinho was giving his first press conference for United on the other side of the city.

When the pair were appointed the managers of the two clubs, Mourinho quickly declared that [1] as far as he was concerned, personal rivalry wouldn't intrude on his job of making the Red Devils great again.

So while Guardiola introduced himself to those members of the Sky Blues squad not on international duty, Mourinho was outlining his aims for United.

"I was never very good at hiding behind words or philosophies," he said. "I was always much more aggressive in my approach, with the risks it can bring.

"It would be easy, honest and pragmatic for me to focus on the last three years and the fact we didn't qualify for the Champions League and to say, 'Let's work. Let's try to be back in the top four. Let's try to do well in the Europa League'. But I am not good at that and I don't want to be good.

"I prefer to be more aggressive and to be more aggressive is to say, 'We want to win.'"

Asked to elaborate on what he wants to win, Mourinho replied: "I want everything. I want to win matches, play well, play young players, score goals, not concede goals.

"I want the fans to be behind us not because we are chasing a result in the last ten minutes, but because we are defending a result."

Mourinho has won the Champions Cup with Porto and Inter Milan and admitted it won't be easy taking United into the Europa League this season.

"Hopefully it is only one season that we are not there," he said. "And when I say 'we', obviously the club is more important than myself and Manchester United is a Champions League club.

"We have to make sure that in July 2017, instead of waiting for the Europa League play-offs and then the group draw, this club is where it has to be - the Champions League."

United has fallen by the wayside since Sir Alex Ferguson left Old Trafford three years ago, twice failing to qualify for the Champions League and never finishing higher than fourth in the Premier League.

Mourinho has also experienced some lows, such as parting company with Chelsea in December, six months after steering them to the Premier League title.

But despite his ignominious departure from Stamford Bridge, the manager says he arrives at United with nothing to prove. "The last time I won a title was one year ago," he said. "If I have a lot to prove, imagine the others.

"The reality is that this was never important for me. I play against myself. That's my feeling. That's my nature."

Mourinho will make his managerial bow in a friendly against Championship side Wigan on 16 July. Fortunately for the Special One, things get more glamorous thereafter, with fixtures against Borussia Dortmund, Manchester City and Galatasaray before the Premier League campaign opens against Bournemouth on 13 August.

Mourinho enlists Ferguson to make Man United great again

30 June

Jose Mourinho will officially be unveiled as the new manager of Manchester United next week. The former Chelsea boss has told key personnel he wants to bring the feelgood factor back to Old Trafford by restoring the expansive style of play that was absent under previous managers David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.

Despite having a reputation as a defensive coach, Mourinho "wants to build a team with the same attacking philosophy legendary predecessor Sir Alex Ferguson demanded in his time at Old Trafford, and is determined to embrace that style," reports the Daily Mirror.

The Portuguese coach has told senior players that there will be no more of the "slow, pedestrian build-up play that blighted their previous manager Louis van Gaal's time in charge", says the paper. He has also made it clear he wants to bring young players through the ranks.

Mourinho will even call on Ferguson to help with his plans, claims The Sun. The paper reports that the Portuguese manager has decided to cut short his summer holiday and will arrive in Manchester "a week ahead of schedule to cook up a masterplan with Fergie to return the club to the summit of English football".

His efforts to improve morale at United will also extend to the removal of TV cameras at the club's Carrington training base. They were set up by Louis van Gaal when he took over in 2014 so he could monitor how the players trained, but they had little positive impact, reports the Daily Express.

"Van Gaal was obsessed with details and behaviour in training but it made the team feel untrusted, and strangled the personality in the dressing room," says the paper.

Mourinho has already begun rebuilding United, with a reported transfer kitty of £200m. So far he has signed defender Eric Bailly for £30m and deals for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are said to be in the pipeline.

Mourinho refers to himself 43 times in first Man Utd interview

27 May

New Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has given his first interview since being appointed manager at Old Trafford. And he showed that he still believes he is the Special One as he vowed to bring success back to the club - by referring to himself 43 times in three minutes.

The Portuguese manager made it clear that he would feel at home at Man United as he declared: "Giant clubs must be for the best managers, and I think I am ready for it."

He aimed what could be taken as a dig at his predecessors David Moyes and Louis van Gaal as he looked to the future, writing off the period since Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013. "I prefer to forget the past three years, I prefer to focus on the giant club I have in my hands now and I think what the fans are expecting me to say is I want to win," he told MUTV.

He also tried to ingratiate himself further with the United fans by reminding them that when he won at Old Trafford during his time with Real Madrid he said afterwards that United had been the better team.

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Mourinho may have shown off his ego, but it is one of his key attributes, says Luke Edwards in the Daily Telegraph. "Although Mourinho’s problems at Chelsea this season are a concern, United want to win major trophies again in the short term," he says. "They have got the ideal man to achieve that and the perfect person to ensure the cult of manager at Old Trafford has a new icon."

Meanwhile Chris Bascombe in the same paper, dismisses fears that he is not the 'right sort' for United. "A cantankerous, anti-authoritarian coach who despises journalists who don’t kiss his backside; falls out with senior players who challenge him and cares little about how he is perceived in pursuit of regular title success is surely the closest to Sir Alex Ferguson you can get?"

Mourinho takes over at Man Utd: Giggs out, Ibrahimovic in

27 May

Jose Mourinho is the new manager of Manchester United. The news was broken late on Thursday by Sky Sports, who reported that the Portuguese was seen at 5pm "with documents in his hand and a bottle of red wine, having met with United's executive vice chairman Ed Woodward to complete the deal".

That deal, says The Times, will earn Mourinho £36m over three years (although The Sun claims it's more like £60m), and was signed on the 12th anniversary of Porto's Champions League win, the victory that made him a star. 

In the years since Mourinho has established himself as one of Europe's most successful, and controversial, managers and in appointing the self-styled Special One, Manchester United will be hoping for a lot of success and a little less controversy.

Mourinho was on his best behaviour on Thursday, sporting a black and red tie for the final stage of the negotiations that had started on Monday, hours after United had sacked Louis van Gaal as manager. The Times says that the 53-year-old will be confirmed as United's new manager in a statement later today, and an interview is also expected to be broadcast on MUTV, the club's in-house television station.

One of Mourinho's first signings is expected to be Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who on Thursday increased speculation that he is set to move to Old Trafford with an endorsement of a man with whom he enjoyed a successful season at Inter Milan in 2009. "I think it's a great move," Ibrahimovic declared. "I believe he is the man to bring [United] back to the top."

One man not expected to feature in the Mourinho regime at Old Trafford is Ryan Giggs. According to the Times his future is "increasingly precarious" with Mourinho planning to bring in his own staff. Giggs is on holiday considering his options but it's believed he has made it clear to the club that he wants to remain as assistant manager, the position he filled under van Gaal. That doesn't look likely, however, with the Times claiming that Giggs has been offered a role "thought to be a bridge between the first team and the under-21s". The Welshman would almost certainly regard that as a demotion, prompting him to sever links with the club he first joined 31 years ago.

Mourinho's first game in charge of United will be a pre-season friendly against Borussia Dortmund on 22 July in Shanghai, and three days later he'll face new Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola in Beijing. But according to the Sun, the match he's relishing above all others is United's Premier League clash with Chelsea, the club who fired him in December. The paper quotes 'close friend' of the Portuguese saying: "Jose is still very sore about the way things ended and winning trophies with United is the best way to get back at those he feels betrayed him at Stamford Bridge...nUnited are getting more than the best manager in the world. They're getting Jose Mourinho with a massive point to prove."

Chelsea image rights wrangle delays Mourinho Man United move

26 May

The appointment of Jose Mourinho as Manchester United manager is being blocked by Chelsea, and their ownership of the rights to his name and image, for which they are "seeking a sizeable payment for their release", reports The Guardian.

Mourinho parted company with the west London club in December and it's believed they are in line to earn a seven-figure sum from their former manager.

The paper says that Ed Woodward, United's executive vice-chairman, "was locked in negotiations until late on Wednesday night" with Jorge Mendes, Mourinho's agent, officials from Chelsea, and lawyers for the three parties.

Chelsea are said to have purchased the rights to Mourinho's name and image in 2005, a year after he was appointed manager in the first of his two spells at the club. Such is the Special One's reputation in west London that Chelsea continue to sell a range of merchandise bearing Mourinho's name and image, including coffee cups, posters and t-shirts. That source of income will come to abrupt halt if - as widely expected - Mourinho is appointed manager of Manchester United, one of Chelsea's bitterest rivals.

While the Guardian says that the impasse is unlikely to prevent Mourinho taking over at Old Trafford, Woodward wants to have sole ownership of the rights and Chelsea will only sell for what they consider an appropriate price. The last resort, adds the paper, could be for United to pay the London club a licence fee in the expectation that the income will outweigh the cost.

As the lawyers and officials haggle over image rights, Mourinho is reportedly assembling his staff with The Sun claiming that he is working hard to bring Real Madrid director general Jose Angel Sanchez to Old Trafford. The paper describes Sanchez as "one of the most powerful men in football", although it's not clear what job title he would have at United. The 48-year-old is second in command to Real president Florentino Perez but it's Sanchez who is said to have the most influence within the Spanish giants.

Sanchez is the man who has brokered nearly all of Real's top signings in the last decade and a half and the Sun quotes a Bernabeu source declaring: “Jose wants Jose Angel to come to United with him...it's not a done deal and a lot must fall into place but the two have certainly discussed it.”

The appointment is unlikely to sit well with Ed Woodward, who might feel undermined by the arrival of Sanchez, but the Sun claims that Mourinho and Sanchez would form arguably the most powerful partnership in football, one that would "boost United's chances of landing the world's top talent."

Mourinho Man United deal 'held up by Jaguar and Chevrolet'

25 May

Manchester United legend Eric Cantona has warned that Jose Mourinho is not the right man for the club, and incompatible commercial interests have already delayed his arrival at Old Trafford.

Frenchman Cantona, arguably the most popular - and certainly one of the most successful - players in United's history told The Guardian he doesn't believe he is the manager to bring back the glory years to Old Trafford. "I love Jose Mourinho, but in terms of the type of football he plays I don’t think he is Manchester United," explained Cantona.

"I love his personality, I love the passion he has for the game, his humour. He is very intelligent, he demands 100 per cent of his players. And of course he wins things. But I don’t think it’s the type of football that the fans of Manchester United will love, even if they win."

According to The Sun Mourinho "has agreed personal terms" with United and is poised to put pen to a contract worth £60m over three years. The sticking point, however, is allegedly image rights with the tabloid claiming negotiations are ongoing "and must be resolved before the contract can be signed".

The 53-year-old Mourinho will continue talks today but his agent, Jorge Mendes, is not in London for the face-face-face discussions with United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, "meaning an official deal may be stalled.".

While Mourinho and United both have deals with sportswear giant Adidas, the Special One also has a commercial contract with Jaguar, a rival to Chevrolet, United's kit sponsor. The Sun says that talks "will resume on Wednesday".

Despite the complexity of the negotiations it's clearly a matter of when and not if Mourinho is installed as United's fourth manager in as many years. But Cantona believes that the club have got the wrong man and, worryingly for the Old Trafford faithful, he says it's Manchester City's new manager, Pep Guardiola, who would have been the ideal fit.

"Guardiola was the one to take," declared Cantona, who won four Premier League titles during his five years at Old Trafford. "I would have loved to have seen Guardiola... He is in Manchester, but at the wrong one."

Meanwhile The Times reports that the future of Ryan Giggs remains unclear with Louis van Gaal's assistant said to be "considering his next move" as he enjoys some downtime in Dubai. The paper says that United want Giggs to stay in some capacity but adds that Mourinho "will not offer him a job as his assistant manager". That role is likely to be taken by the Portuguese’s right-hand man, Rui Faria, and consequently the 42-year-old Giggs "is unwilling to assume a lesser role in the new regime".

The Welshman is also reportedly unhappy at the way van Gaal was treated in recent weeks, although the Dutchman told his assistant on Monday that he would not view it as a betrayal if he worked under his successor. "Go with your heart," Van Gaal is understood to have told Giggs.

Man Utd fire Van Gaal: Will Kidd and Neville join Mourinho

24 May

The official end came at 8.30pm on Monday when Manchester United finally confirmed what everyone had known since Sunday - that Louis van Gaal was no longer manager of the club.

The Dutchman said his goodbyes in the clipped and colourless language of a man who had met his fate reluctantly. "It has been an honour to manage such a magnificent club as Manchester United, and in doing so, I have fulfilled a long-held ambition," said the 64-year-old Dutchman, who learned of his dismissal earlier in the day. "I am immensely proud to have helped United win the FA Cup for the 12th time in the club's history. I have been privileged during my management career to have won 20 trophies but winning the FA Cup, which is steeped in so much history, will always be one of the most special achievements of my career."

If that was labouring a point it was perhaps because van Gaal had achieved little else in two seasons, spending £250m on new signings but guiding United to no higher than fourth and fifth in the Premier League. It was the failure to qualify for next season's Champions League, plus the dour brand of football he created, that prompted the United board to give him the bullet and bring in - almost certainly - Jose Mourinho.

The closest Van Gaal came to showing emotion in the statement was when he said he was "very disappointed to be unable to complete our intended three-year plan". And he made it clear that he. at least, believed United were heading in the right direction. "I believe that the foundations are firmly in place to enable the club to move forward and achieve even greater success," he said,

United, for their part, smiled as they pulled the trigger, with executive chairman Ed Woodward thanking Van Gaal "for his "great professionalism and dignity", and also his "excellent work". Pointing out that van Gaal had blooded 14 players from the United academy, including Jesse Lingard, who scored the winner in Saturday's FA Cup final against Crystal Palace, and striker Marcus Rashford, the 'find' of the Premier League season, Woodward said: "He leaves us with a legacy of having given several young players the confidence to show their ability on the highest stage."

Perhaps the biggest clue that van Gaal's heart wasn't fully in the statement was the sentence lauding the fans, the same fans who have spent a large part of the season booing the Dutchman. "I would also like to express my gratitude to the amazing United supporters," said van Gaal. "They are truly the best fans in the world."

The statement was derided by The Sun as van Gaal's attempt "at rewriting history", and described it as "one that very much has Woodward’s mitts all over it....'Keep this clean, Louis, and you will get your pay-off'."

The paper also claimed that Mourinho, who is expected to be unveiled as the new manager within the next 48 hours, hopes to bring Brian Kidd and Gary Neville with him to Old Trafford.

Former United assistant boss Kidd is currently on the Manchester City staff, but could be tempted back to the red half of Manchester now that Manuel Pellegrini is leaving the Etihad.

According to the Sun Mourinho wants Kidd to be his "right-hand man", a role he played with aplomb during Alex Ferguson's time at Old Trafford. As for Neville, the pair are friends, and the Sun says that Mourinho believes the former United defender can "help him rebuild the team and change the style of play".

However, the Sun believes that Ryan Giggs is "ready to say goodbye to Manchester United after 29 years". Mourinho will offer him the chance to stay on in a coaching capacity, but "believes he will probably reject the offer to become a manager in his own right". 

Ryan Giggs could quit Man United after Jose Mourinho snub

23 May

Jose Mourinho will take over at Old Trafford this week, as Louis van Gaal awaits the sack after guiding his side to glory in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

Van Gaal arrived at Manchester United's Carrington training complex on Monday morning and was soon joined by lawyer Paul Gilroy, who works for the League Manager's Association and helped thrash out David Moyes's compensation packing when he left in 2014.

But the changeover has also led to speculation about the future of the outgoing manager's assistant, United legend Ryan Giggs.

Mourinho is certain to bring his long-term right-hand man Rui Faria and goalkeeping coach Silvino Louro with him, reports the Daily Mail.

The former Chelsea boss wants Giggs to stay, says the paper, "even though the 42-year-old wants to go it alone in management".

"It is not known whether Giggs will want to continue learning his trade as an assistant," adds the Mail. "Although the hope at United is that he sticks around.

"Mourinho - due to land a contract of just over £15m a year - has history of vacating his position in the third season, which could tempt Giggs to stay."

He could also elect to remain at United in order to preserve his reputation.

"Giggs is believed to be unsure about the prospect of a third stint as an assistant and will weigh up whether the time has now come for him to cut his managerial teeth," says the Daily Telegraph. "By the same token, the ex-United winger is conscious that if he leaves and struggles somewhere else, it could damage or even kill his prospects of one day getting the United manager's job."

However, The Sun believes the former player is "ready to say goodbye" to Old Trafford after 29 years and will reject the chance to work with Mourinho.

It adds that several United players wanted Giggs to be given the job and claims "the United dressing room believe Mourinho is only a short-term solution".

Is Louis van Gaal scaring off Man United transfer targets?

19 May

The uncertainty over Manchester United's managerial situation could lead to the club missing out on some major transfer targets this summer, as the Dutchman continues to insist that he will remain in charge at Old Trafford next season.

The latest player reportedly baulking at the prospect of playing for Van Gaal is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Borussia Dortmund, who has "reservations" about the manager, according to the Daily Mail.

"There are concerns within the Old Trafford hierarchy that the Dutchman's much-maligned approach will prevent them from signing their top transfer targets," says the paper.

The claim comes after it was alleged that David de Gea would consider leaving the club if the Dutchman remained in charge, and after a key summer target Renato Sanches opted to join Bayern Munich rather than United.

Tellingly, however, both De Gea and Sanches share an agent with Jose Mourinho, the man tipped to take over from Van Gaal.

Another transfer rumour that could have a bearing on the situation involves Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has been tipped to join United after leaving Paris Saint Germain. The Swedish striker has been critical of Van Gaal in the past, but enjoyed a good relationship with Mourinho at Inter Milan.

Another factor is the appointment of Pep Guardiola at Man City. Players are more likely to be swayed by the prospect of playing for him than Van Gaal, and it has been claimed that United need a glamorous new boss to rival the likes of Guardiola, Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp and Antonio Conte, who is taking over at Chelsea.

The root of the problem is not so much Van Gaal's reputation as the brand of football his United side have been peddling, They scored only 49 goals this season, the second lowest total in the Premier League.

"Van Gaal's heavily-criticised playing style will be taken into consideration when the United board decide whether to stick with the 64-year-old after Saturday's FA Cup final against Crystal Palace," says the Mail.

But the decison may already have been made, says the Manchester Evening News. "Even a trophy may not be enough to save his job," it says. "Van Gaal's future continues to look uncertain no matter what happens against Crystal Palace."

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