What makes United special?
Jose: I think I understood that it was a special place before I joined. It was 2004, and my first contact with the club and with the stadium, and with the fans in spite of the fact that they were obviously against me. It was enough to feel that it was special. After that, it is history. And history, nobody can delete, I always say that. And history is amazing. It is not one generation of success, but consecutive generations of success. So, history makes it also special.
On a special connection with United.
Jose: Yeah, always as an opponent but always respectful. It had to be one of the club’s I played against more times. And being an emotional person and somebody, that in competition, I become a little bit different than I am in normal days. I manage, I don’t know how, to keep such a good relationship with the club and the fans. Maybe my relation with Sir Alex had an influence on that, because I was always feeling a special respect for him.
On his first game at Old Trafford.
Jose: It is a pity that it is not tomorrow! Because I am waiting for that. You have a 50 meter walk, which is different than my previous clubs because in all my previous clubs, it was just the tunnel connected with the bench. They don’t have that space to feel good or bad feelings because when things go well, you normally feel the good feelings and when things go wrong, you feel the bad feeling. But, I think, 50 meter walk will be a few seconds where I will have the chance to feel it. You know, Old Trafford, even as a kid, before I was imagining I could be a top club manager, I always had this historical connection of Old Trafford as the Theatre of Dreams. And then the first time that I played there, it was exactly a dream because it was winning the Champions League with Porto – making history for myself and for my country. So for me, it was always that connection with, like, anything is possible so why can’t I do it with Man Utd playing at home with the stadium behind us. So, I’m waiting for them.
Jose: One of the Leicester legacies is not just the fact that they won amazingly well. One of the legacies is that, I think, 20 teams can dream about winning the Premier League. I think football is changing always, and it is not just about the amazing economical situation that every club in the Premier League has now that allows them to buy well, to buy expensive and good players and to compete for the biggest prize – it’s not just about that, it’s also about training methods, preparation – mental preparation, nobody’s afraid of anybody. And old times where you could smash opponents – if you were one of the best teams – 5-0, 6-0, winning 10-15 matches in a row, I think these times are over.
On Friday Night Football.
Jose: If you ask me, the one I really love is the early kick off. I love that, I love to, early in the morning, go for a rich breakfast – then go to the bus, go to the game, play the game, win if possible go home and game over – I like it. I don’t like to wait for matches. In my time in Spain, I sometimes had matches, because of the weather obviously. I hate these, I hate to wait a long day for a match. But, when the game starts, the game starts. And you know that for these 90 minutes, you have to enjoy and do your best.
On the upcoming season.
Jose: You know I am not humble when I go into targets. And I want everything. And everything is to win matches, go play well, to score goals, to don’t concede goals – and so i want everything. I know that obviously we are speaking about a hypothetical situation, very difficult to reach. But, I will have this one.
Jose: Zlatan, three words – he’s a winner, he’s a goalscorer, and he’s funny – he’s a funny guy. You need to understand him to use this weird to describe him. He’s a funny guy, and if you don’t know him, maybe you think some quotes, bit arrogant. But, he’s just a funny guy. So, I would just say that. Funny, winner and goalscorer. I was so happy to go for him, and obviously, he’s happy to work for me now.
On the Pre-Season Tour.
Jose: I went to Asia with three different clubs, and I know that they are completely in love with, first of all with football. And then also with what Man Utd mean – to be fearless. I think it was in Thailand, in Bangkok, that one of my agent friends took me to a Man Utd franchising restaurant and supporters. I had to wear a different jacket, because I was manager of another football club, but I went to the place where they watch Man Utd play every weekend.
On his message to the fans.
Jose: My message is that is I expect a lot from them. I understand that they expect a lot from me but I expect a lot from them. And I think the passion for this club is really amazing. It is a new chapter in the club’s life. it is always to change a manager – I feel it is a sad moment, but a new chapter in the club’s life. We bring obviously a few new faces, we keep a few ones but in the end, it doesn’t matter who the manager is, doesn’t matter who the new player is, doesn’t matter who is staying, who is leaving – it’s Man United. And Man United is much more than any one of us and the passion that people have is for the club. So, I feel that I am a club man. When I arrive, I wear the shirt immediately, and this is the kind of club and shirt that obviously you are very proud to wear the shirt and be part of the club. And obviously, I’m going to do my best to be happy and to make people happy.