Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Jose Mourinho opens up on ‘deep Man Utd problems’ in clear dig at big-name stars

Jose Mourinho, formerly of Man Utd

Jose Mourinho was in charge of Man Utd between 2016 and 2018

Former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has revealed the ambitious plans he had when arriving at Old Trafford, while also discussing the ‘deep problems’ at the club which he failed to resolve.

Mourinho caused shock when he took charge of Man Utd in July 2016, following two spells with their Premier League rivals Chelsea. The Portuguese was tasked with making Man Utd competitive at the highest level again and helping them win the Premier League title for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure in 2013.

Under Mourinho’s guidance, Man Utd went on to win the Europa League and League Cup in the 2016-17 season. The Red Devils also finished second in the league the following campaign, their highest finish since the Ferguson era.

However, Mourinho was sacked in December 2018 after results and performances worsened, while the 61-year-old also fell out with well-known players including Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez, Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial.

In an interview with Rio Ferdinand’s Vibe with Five, Mourinho has spoken about his intense efforts to get rid of Man Utd’s rotten core, only for it all to blow up in his face.

“Do you buy new furniture units before cleaning the house? I was more about cleaning the house than buying new furniture [signings],” the serial winner said.

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“We didn’t clean it the way we wanted. I wanted to clean from the second season and we couldn’t for different reasons.

“I cannot say that I was asking for A, B, C or D in the third season because that was not right. I just knew clearly by the third season what I didn’t want there.

Jose Mourinho bemoans Man Utd ‘individuals’

“In terms of the individuals, in terms of the profiles, I knew clearly what I didn’t want, but it didn’t happen. Sometimes in football, you have to accept that.

“I tried my best but I knew exactly the deep, deep problems that we had there. In my third season, the manifestation of these problems was more and more clear.”

While Man Utd finished 19 points behind eventual champions Man City in 2017-18, Mourinho joked that if Pep Guardiola’s side are found guilty of breaking financial rules it will lessen that gap.

“If Man City is caught breaching the Financial Fair Play, breaking the rules, maybe they’ll lose a few points in the title!” he added.

“But joking apart, we did the best we could do.”

Mourinho also spoke about his dismissal from Roma in January. The former Real Madrid and Tottenham boss helped Roma win the Europa Conference League in 2022 and reach the Europa League final the following year, where they lost to Sevilla.

While Mourinho brought huge success to the capital club, he was axed last month after the club fell down to ninth in Serie A.

Roma exit ‘hurt me the most’ – Mourinho

“I can say it was the one [exit] that has hurt me the most,” Mourinho said.

“I gave everything, I gave my heart, I gave even some options that could be considered not very clever from the professional point of view.

“I refused some great working opportunities. The first one was very hard to refuse because it was Portugal national team, probably the best Portugal national team ever and three years before a World Cup.

“Then I had a big one from Saudi and I didn’t hide it at the time because it was really big.

“I did it – normally I a very pragmatic in my choices, very professional in my choices and I try to be very emotionally controlled and you could see that when I left other clubs after winning finals.

“In this case I was not pragmatic, I was emotional and I gave everything. So in the end when I left, I left hurt. I had the great feeling that I gave so much happiness to the people.

“Two European finals in a row doesn’t happen too often, especially in a club like Roma which doesn’t have a big history of European success.

“Then I was walking in the street and the people were like “take us to Dublin, take us to Dublin” [for this year’s Europa League final] and so I had that in my mind, the third European final in a row.

“But you have to respect, the owner is always the owner. It’s not the first time I left a club, it is probably the first time I am feeling it in a different way.

“You move on, you try to learn from the experience be better for the next one.”

Mourinho has been linked with the Newcastle United job, mainly due to his connections with Magpies icon Sir Bobby Robson. Although, it is more likely Mourinho will take up a lucrative offer to manage in Saudi Arabia next, a move he has already hinted at.

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