David Moyes refuses to play Jose Mourinho's mind games as 'it's not my style'

 

David Moyes needed only five words to win the pre-match verbal skirmish with Jose Mourinho – declaring in reply to the Chelsea manager's provocative claim that Wayne Rooney would leave for continental Europe this summer: "He will go to Brazil."

Moyes revealed that he had received an apology from Mourinho and Chelsea's media department in midweek, after the Portuguese's observations, first published in Tuesday's London Evening Standard interview, that: "My feeling, which is based on years of communicating with Sir Alex and some inside information, is Man United are not happy, but they are calm."

Mourinho's quotes were widely picked up and, according to Chelsea, taken out of context as sensational headlines appeared the following day in other newspapers.

Moyes, who has always had a generally good relationship with Mourinho, claimed that "poor journalism" was to blame for the way the interview was construed elsewhere, though few managers would welcome an opponent speaking in such terms about them and their club.

Moyes was sanguine about Mourinho's latest Rooney jibe. "I wouldn't do it but everybody has their own style. I wouldn't talk about other managers at other clubs and I wouldn't talk about other players at other clubs. But managers have their own style," he said.

The suggestion that the 28-year-old, who has started solitary light training without the ball on the Carrington grass – would head for Europe was wrong, he said. "I completely disagree [with it]. I can only tell you I disagree." Asked what the Chelsea manager's motivation was, he observed: "I can't tell you – but only time will give you the answer about Wayne."

Though the Glaswegian otherwise kept out of the pre-match jousting which has become a well-established Mourinho ritual, it is hard to imagine that he is not tiring of the Portuguese's politicking about affairs of his own club. It was on the morning of the two clubs' goalless draw at Old Trafford in August that the newspapers carried Mourinho's caustic observations that: "I didn't say [to Rooney] 'you will be a second choice for me'. We are trying to get a player that a manager told 'you will be a second option for me'." Moyes had said nothing of the sort.

The notion of selling Rooney to Chelsea, ahead of a 2014-15 season in which United may find themselves competing with the west London side in an attempt to get back into the Champions League, is unthinkable, for the same reason that Liverpool would not sell Luis Suarez to Arsenal last summer. It may prove to be a case of allowing Rooney's contract to run down and taking the hit on losing him for a minimal sum in 2015, if it means having him around for a "comeback" season.

It was when he was asked if he retained hopes of regaining the title that the current mood around the club became most clear. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers had been equally unwilling to fall for a headline like that on Thursday, though his response had a far greater optimism about it. "I would put our team up against everyone," Rodgers said.

But despite five Premier League wins in their last six matches, Moyes replied that it would be "wrong for me to come out and say something I couldn't back up or justify. So I am OK winning the next game. The longer it goes, the more I can start to think about what's down the line. But I would always be thinking about being at the top. I wouldn't think about being anywhere else".

It would certainly enhance the way that United are projecting themselves to the world if others were doing the talking for the club, in outlets other than its in-house media. The articulate way Darren Fletcher spoke up for the club and Moyes at a commercial launch eight days ago was a breath of fresh air, which felt like a captain's oration. He was back doing club media this week, while the more upbeat United line – Robin van Persie declaring his faith in the manager – had to be garnered from a commercial interview the striker had given.

Moyes, who when asked about his interest in Mourinho's midfielder Juan Mata reiterated that talking about people's players "is not my style", agreed Sunday was critical to keeping in touch. He hinted at a tight, attritional, defence-minded game-plan and said Van Persie may be back on the grass early next week.

"My relationship with Jose has been fine," he also reflected. "I respect him for the success he's had and for the way he's managed his clubs. He's been one of the best modern-day managers and may well go on to be one of the great managers. I've got no problems at all with Jose." But there was also the faintest hint of yearning – to be cut the same slack that Sunday's adversary, with his swagger, style and mot juste, always seems to get.

Asked if, with Van Persie and Rooney out, he could operate without a striker, he observed that Mourinho had done precisely that over the years. "Maybe it would have been reported differently if I had done it," he said.

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football Polish side was ejected from Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
news
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone