Jose Mourinho wants at least three years at Manchester United manager, but admits he would love to stay for longer and achieve “true success”.
The former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss has won the Community Shield and EFL Cup in his first season at Old Trafford, while his side are in the last eight of the Europa League and favourites to lift that trophy.
The campaign has been far from a resounding success, however, as United sit sixth in the Premier League heading into Sunday’s game with Middlesbrough at the end of a week in which their FA Cup defence was ended by Chelsea.
Mourinho has never spent more than three years as head coach at any club, but he hopes to last at least that long at United as he looks to restore their place at the summit of English football.
“Three years [minimum], I think I will be here, I think the club understood the necessity to give stability to all levels,” he told SIC.
“I believe if we do that, even without a massive success, which is harder in football, even more so in England, but with some type of success, I see myself staying here if they want me to stay.
“If they want me to stay I will stay, but like I say, we both need to be happy. I’m not a type of person to be at a club 10, 15 years, without real success.
“I need to have true success, my life is like that, I need that pride and happiness. In all honesty, I would like things to go well and be here many years.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 17, 2017
United have gone through a turbulent transition period since Alex Ferguson retired at the end of their title-winning campaign in 2012-13, with David Moyes and Louis van Gaal having both been sacked for failing to achieve the desired results.
Mourinho believes an element of complacency had crept in at Old Trafford, but hopes to restore some stability and a greater connection with the fans going forward.
“I think the club got so used to winning and having success, maybe they didn’t realise other clubs were growing, even when Sir Alex was in his last years at the club,” he said.
“The Premier League were creating conditions for the other clubs to become financially powerful and that has definitely transformed the league.
“When I first arrived at Chelsea, I wanted to buy Manchester City’s best player [Shaun Wright-Phillips] and I did. Manchester United wanted Tottenham’s best player Michael Carrick, and they did. Later they wanted Arsenal’s best Robin van Persie. And so on.
“Nowadays all clubs have grown and with TV rights being shared, it’s almost unique in European football.
“It has allowed that difference in power to be slowly diluted, in a way that Manchester United stopped being the all-powerful Manchester United, and became part of a group of five, six, seven very powerful clubs.
“United had a bit of everything happening at the same time. The exit of Sir Alex, unique and more than just a manager, the change of powers in the Premier League and a period of instability at Old Trafford; three managers in three years if you count [interim manager] Ryan Giggs. It was a period of some instability, disbelief and even distance with the fans.
“I came knowing the work ahead was difficult with some not-so-good moments. But I had a tranquility, security and stability, so going 18 games unbeaten would not send me to the moon, but in the same way that five or six consecutive draws would not leave me in a difficult situation.”
Mourinho says he has encouraged Ferguson, who has attempted to keep a low profile at the club since his retirement, to feel free to spend more time with the playing squad.
“He will always be an ambassador to this club, but he’s been doing it as far as he can from the changing rooms,” added Mourinho.
“We have the same friendship we always have had, an SMS, a birthday or Christmas card. He wanted to leave and not return, maybe for his own comfort. I told him, it made no sense, us travelling to London on a private train and Sir Alex, going by car. ‘No, you come in the train’.
“He’s so respectful that he got a bit shy in this approach, it has to be us to make him feel cared for, and made him feel that in our heads there aren’t ghosts.”
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