Jose Mourinho insists he will not “run away or disappear” from his responsibilities after launching an impassioned defence of his Manchester United tenure.
The Portuguese has faced severe criticism over his tactics in the wake of United’s dismal Champions League last-16 exit to Sevilla on Tuesday.
Mourinho was particularly panned for the defensive mindset the Red Devils set up with in the 2-1 defeat, as Wissam Ben Yedder’s double put the tie beyond United.
But speaking ahead of United’s FA Cup quarter-final with Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday, Mourinho delivered an emotional 12-minute monologue in his media conference, fighting back against his critics.
He said: “Life is good, I have an amazing job to do.
“Yesterday I met a new person working in the club – different area to me, nothing direct with me – a person that came from another club. I asked ‘Why did you decide to come?’
“He told me ‘Because I did a fantastic job in another club and I know that I have a huge job to do so I have a challenge’.
“I said well done, my decision was based on something similar. I could be in another league where the title is in the pocket, practically won before a ball is kicked.
“But I’m not there, I’m going to be here. No way are you going to change my mentality. For me, I don’t know if you know the expression, there is a quote I like; ‘In every wall is a door, every wall is a door’.
“I’m not going to run away, disappear, cry, because I heard a few boos. I won’t disappear from the tunnel running immediately, the next match I’ll be first to go out.
“I respect the fans, I’m not afraid of anything. When I was 20 years old, I was nobody in football, I was someone’s son.
“And now, at 55, I am what I am, I did what I did because of work, because of my talent and my mentality, so they can be together. I understand that for many, many, many years it was really hard for people that don’t like me to say ‘Here he is again, he wins again’.
“So, for those months I win nothing, 10 months nothing. Last title I won was 10 months ago. I beat Liverpool, Chelsea, lose to Sevilla – it’s their moment to be happy.”
“I’m happy with what I saw in my players after the match,” says the boss. “I’m happy that people were sad and frustrated. I’m happy we were exactly on the same page and I’m happy to see the boys coming back again on my page.” #MUFC
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 16, 2018
Mourinho delivered a history lesson to the journalists in attendance, pointing out that United have not been in a Champions League final since 2011, while they have reached the quarter-finals of Europe’s premier competition just once since that campaign.
The former Real Madrid boss vehemently defended his own record and insists that the job he is doing at United is a long-term project, which he says is still in its infancy.
“I say to the fans, fans are fans and fans have the right to opinions and reactions but there is something that I used to call football heritage, what a manager inherits” he commented.
“The last time Man Utd won the Champions League, which didn’t happen a lot of times, was 2011 – or reached the final since 2011.
“In 2012, out in the group phase – the group was almost same group we had this season, with Benfica, Basel and Galati. Out in group phase.
“In 2013, out at Old Trafford in the last 16 – I was on the bench [for Real Madrid].
“In 2014, out in the quarter-finals, 2015 no European football, in 2016 comes back to European football and out in the group phase, goes to Europa League and second knockout stage out of the Europa League.
“In 2017, play Europa League, win Europa League with me, and go back to the Champions League. 2018 win the group phase with 15 points from possible 18, loses at home in last 16.
“In seven years, with four managers, once not qualify for Europe, twice out in group phase, and the best was quarter-finals.
“This is football heritage, and if you want to go to the Premier League, the last victory was 2013 – and in the four consecutive seasons United finish 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th – so in the last four years the best was fourth.
“This is football heritage, it means when you start the process you are here, you’re there or you’re there – it is heritage
“When I arrived in Real Madrid, you know how many players played the quarter-final of the Champions League? Xabi Alonso with Liverpool and Iker Casillas with Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo with Man Utd – all the others not even a quarter-final, that’s football heritage.”
Denis Irwin loved an #FACup goal…
How about this quarter-final strike v QPR in 1995! pic.twitter.com/BAUNI9lySl
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 16, 2018
United’s perceived negative style has been in sharp contrast to that of rivals Manchester City, who have swashbuckled their way to a 16-point lead at the top of the Premier League and a position in the Champions League quarter-final.
But Mourinho suggested that the quality of squad inherited by Pep Guardiola was in stark contrast to the one he took over from Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford, and says he is still playing catch-up against United’s wealthy neighbours.
“In the last seven years, the worst position of Manchester City was fourth. In the last seven years, Man City was champion twice and you could say three times because in a few more weeks maybe a third. They were second twice, that’s heritage.
“You know what else is heritage? [Nicolas] Otamendi, [Kevin] de Bruyne, [David] Silva, [Raheem] Sterling, [Sergio] Aguero, they are investments from the past, not from the last two years, from the past.
“You know how many of United players left club last season, see where they play, if they play, that’s football heritage.
“One day when I leave, the next Man Utd manager will find here [Romelu] Lukaku, [Nemanja] Matic, of course [David] de Gea from many years ago. They will find players with a different mentality, different quality, different background, with a different status, different knowhow and, for some reason, you go to the Champions League quarter-final like today and there are four clubs that are always there. Barcelona always there, Real Madrid always there, Juventus always there, Bayern Munich always there.
“Of course there appears now and again another club, like my Inter and Monaco last season. But ones that are always there, it’s for some reason, and the good thing for me and the amazing feeling for me is that I am exactly on the same page as the owners, Mr [Ed] Woodward – exactly same page.
“We agree with everything, agree we have a process, agree in investments, agree we have what we have, investments we’re going to do, progressing season after season. We need time.”
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