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Jose Mourinho: 'The Impatient One' eager to bury Manchester United's three years of bad memories

The Portuguese is hoping to bring United's run of underachievement to an end

Mark Ogden
Tuesday 05 July 2016 13:11 BST
Mourinho: I am where I want to be

A hearse passed through the Old Trafford car park moments before Jose Mourinho’s official introduction as Manchester United manager.

It was carrying a coffin, surrounded by red and white roses, and it seemed an appropriate metaphor for what followed Old Trafford’s Europa Suite.

This was the day that United were burying the last three years, consigning them to history, and handing Mourinho the task of overseeing the club’s resurrection. The Portuguese was in town to bring life back to Manchester United.

It was strictly business as the 53-year-old entered the room, however. Six minutes earlier than the scheduled 11am start, Mourinho stepped onto the dais wearing a United training top carrying the initials ‘JM.’

This wasn’t a day for a suit, nor a soundbite to continue the thread from Special One through to Happy One. If anything, Mourinho was the Impatient One – three signings already done, the thorny issue of Ryan Giggs dealt with and a tour of the club’s facilities already undertaken weeks ago.

“The other two times (when unveiled by Chelsea), I was arriving at the country,” Mourinho said. “This is a different one.

“I was sacked by Chelsea and then I stayed in the same country, the same competition with the same faces in front of me, so it is nothing new for me.

It is not a dream job, it is reality as Manchester United manager.

&#13; <p>Jose Mourinho</p>&#13;

“It is just to arrive into a club which is difficult to describe, to find the right words to describe this club.

“I don’t like denomination people use like dream job – it is not a dream job, it is reality as Manchester United manager.

“I think it is a job everyone wants and not many have a chance to have and I have it.”

Nine questions and thirty minutes later, the question as to whether he wanted it and could have had it three years ago following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement failed to materialise, left for another day.

But Mourinho was aware of the magnitude of his surroundings and the legacy he inherits.

The Europa Suite may offer an unfortunate reminder of the competition United must negotiate next season, with Louis van Gaal sacked after failing to qualify for the Champions League, but the photographs on the wall of European Cup triumphs in 1968, 1999 and 2008, forced Mourinho address United’s recent fall from grace.

“I know the legacy, the history of this club,” he said. “I know what the fans expect from me and this challenge doesn’t make me nervous because my history in the last 10 years or more was always to live with big clubs; expectation.

“I think it comes in the right moment of my career, I feel very prepared, very stable and with a great motivation.

“I am where I want to me in this club, in this country, but I feel frustrated I am not playing Champions League.

“I don’t hide that I chase Sir Alex’s record in the Champions League for matches as a manager (192) – I am around 130 matches.

“Hopefully it is only one season I am not there. When I say we, obviously the club is more important than myself, Manchester United is more important than myself and we have to make sure that, in July 2017, this club is where it has to be in the Champions League.”

Mourinho’s appointment has been well-received by United supporters, with his winning track record a welcome return to the days of Ferguson and an end to the three years of night under David Moyes and Van Gaal – two managers ill-prepared for the demands of the Old Trafford stage.

But while Pep Guardiola checks in at Manchester City with a reputation for delivering success, style and panache, Mourinho remains, to many, a figure from the dark side.

The perception is that he does not promote youth and prescribes functional, rather than flowing, football but the man himself suggests both are misconceptions.

“I prefer to be more aggressive and say we want to win and I can anticipate any one of you will come later with a question about style of play,” Mourinho said. “I can answer by saying you can win a short competition, a couple of matches, without playing well, but you cannot win competitions without playing well.

“What is playing well? It is scoring more goals than the opponents, conceding less, making your fans proud because you give everything and you win.

“It is everything at the same time. It is an aggressive approach by myself. I want everything. Of course we are not going to get everything but we want to.”

And the youth development? Would a Marcus Rashford or Timothy Fosu-Mensah – or even a Beckham, Scholes or Neville – find their way through under Mourinho?

The rustle of paper by Mourinho suggested he had already prepared for that one.

Mourinho was in a typically spiky mood at his first meeting with the media (Getty)

“To answer it would take 10 minutes, but I knew that was coming,” he said. “You know how many young players I promote to the first team from academies?

“49? Do you want to know who they are? I can give you that. I promote 49 players from the academies from the clubs and with two factors,

“Sometimes you promote players because you don’t have another chance because you have so many injuries.

“That is one factor and the second factor is when you are not playing for big targets, it is easier to bring them up.

“I never promote players because of need. I did it because of conviction and decision.

“I did 49. Some of them are big names, they are today Champions League winners or playing in the Euros.

“One lie repeated many times, sometimes it looks true but it will never be true. 49. If you want the names, I give you the names.”

One lie repeated many times, sometimes it looks true but it will never be true.

&#13; <p>Jose Mourinho on his record of promoting youth players</p>&#13;

But the truth is that Mourinho’s past, his track record in terms of trophies and youth development, now counts for little more than the credibility it will guarantee in the dressing room and among the supporters.

It will not last forever. Success going forward will be the only commodity Mourinho and United are interested.

Guardiola will be a respected rival in that sense – ‘I hate the word enemy in football and in life,’ Mourinho said – but it seems, for the first time since Ferguson retired, United now possess manager capable of escaping his shadow.

The two have already spoken, with the Scot offered some valuable advice.

“Yes, bring the umbrella!” Mourinho joked. “Yesterday I couldn’t believe it was raining in the training ground, so it was great advice.

“The second advice was to bring my typical bottle of wine. Now we are going to have many occasions to be together.”

United and Ferguson have had enough of drowning their sorrows over the past three years, but Mourinho will only expect to drink in celebration.

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