Belfast Telegraph

Forget past three years, Mourinho tells United fans

By Jack de Menezes

Jose Mourinho has wasted little time in making his first controversial remark after being named Manchester United manager, having admitted that the last three years at the club mean nothing to him.

Mourinho is tasked with returning United to the dominant force of the Premier League that they once were, although he will first need to qualify for the Champions League after United failed to finish inside the top four this season, condemning the Portuguese to a Europa League campaign next term.

The 53-year-old has agreed a three-year contract, with United confirming that there is the option for a fourth year - though it would represent the first time in his career that Mourinho has stayed with a club that long should the clause be activated.

After news of his contract signing emerged on Thursday night, United confirmed Mourinho's appointment yesterday morning, and the new manager at Old Trafford appeared in an interview with the club's in-house television channel MUTV to reflect on the decision to join United as Louis van Gaal's replacement just five months after he was sacked by Chelsea.

However, in what could be judged to be a dig at his predecessors in Van Gaal and David Moyes - who have overseen United's dramatic fall down the league table - Mourinho admitted that the last three years at the club mean nothing to him. Although it is worth stressing that he was not speaking in relation to the Premier League title he won with Chelsea in 2014-15.

"I feel great. I think this comes at the right moment in my career," said Mourinho.

"Manchester United is a club you need to be prepared for, because they are what I call a giant club and giant clubs need the best managers.

"I'm ready for it. I'm proud. I'm honoured. I cannot wait for 7th July to go on the pitch.

"I think we can put our club into perspective. One perspective is the last three years; another is the history. I prefer to forget the past three years.

"I want to win. I need the supporters and players to feel that."

Despite bursting onto the English scene by sprinting down the Old Trafford touchline to celebrate Francisco Costinha's goal against United in the Champions League 12 years ago, Mourinho claimed he has always felt an affinity with the club.

Having chased the role since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013 - only to miss out to Moyes - Mourinho has made no secret of his desire to work with United at some point in his career, and he spoke to allay any fears among fans who fear he is not suited to the club, given his reluctance to develop young players at Chelsea.

"The fans know what they can give me and what I can give them. The relationship with the fans is important," he added.

"I played so many times at Old Trafford, and the feeling was empathy. I sometimes said things that my club wasn't happy with.

"I remember when I won at Old Trafford with Real Madrid and I said the best team lost, not many people at Real Madrid were very happy with that."

Mourinho didn't just join Manchester United, he also joined Instagram with a brilliant first (and so far only) post - of his United contract.

He quickly amassed 100,000 followers in an hour.

"Manchester United Football Club, Old Trafford, The Theatre Of Dreams," read the caption.

Meanwhile, Ryan Giggs is said to be "very unhappy" with the prospect of being demoted at Manchester United by Mourinho, strengthening the prospect of the club legend leaving after 29 years with the Premier League side.

Giggs has asked the club for some time to ponder his future after being offered a role that will create a bridge between the first team and the under-21s.

Belfast Telegraph


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