Jose Mourinho has admitted there is no rush to become Manchester United manager, opening the possibility of the former Chelsea manager replacing Louis van Gaal at the end of next season when his contract expires.
Van Gaal has been close to the getting the sack at United this season, with a torrid run of results leading to the Dutchman offering his resignation in December proving to be the low point. United can still finish fourth and win the FA Cup, although Tuesday night’s defeat by West Ham means the former is dependent on Manchester City slipping up at Swansea this weekend, and with United’s season far from certain Van Gaal’s future remains in the balance.
Finishing in the top four and securing Champions League football next season could well prove to be the deciding factor in whether Van Gaal stays or goes this summer, but Mourinho has admitted that he is in no rush to force his way into Old Trafford despite courting the job since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
When asked about the United job in an interview with the Daily Mail, Mourinho answered: “There is plenty of time.”
Mourinho, who was speaking in Mexico City as part of his role in coaching a Fifa Legends team against a Mexico All-Stars side, did stress though that he will be back in management for the new season, and accepted that his pre-season preparations at whichever club he joins will be hampered because of his late appointment.
“In July I will be back,” Mourinho told the Associated Press, while adding it will be “difficult” to prepare his side due to playing friendlies that haven’t been decided by him.
The 53-year-old remains out of work after being sacked by Chelsea last December, with the Blues embarking on the worst ever Premier League title defence this season as they can only finish as high as ninth.
Mourinho was immediately linked with replacing Van Gaal in the United dugout, but no decision has been taken by United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward in sacking Van Gaal before his contract is up. Woodward is determined to stand by Van Gaal to see out his contract, and the fact that the manager is still having a say on the club’s transfer business suggests he will remain in charge next season no matter what happens during the final weekend of the Premier League and in next week’s FA Cup final against Crystal Palace.
United need to beat Bournemouth on Sunday and hope City lose to at Swansea in order for Van Gaal’s side to qualify for next season’s Champions League. Defeat though could open the door to missing out on Europe completely, as a Palace victory in the FA Cup final and Liverpool winning the Europa League could result in United failing to qualify for the Europa League in scenes similar to David Moyes’s season in charge of the club in 2013/14.
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