Interviewer: What do you think of Beijing? Will the Bird’s Nest be a lucky place for you? And the next question is a lot of footballers and managers think that you are the best manager in the world. Do you also think so?
Jose: I think Beijing is also unlucky, because the pitch is very bad. And the condition of my players are more important than results in pre-season. So, it is not a problem for me to lose matches in pre-season; it is a problem for me – bad conditions for my players to train, and bad conditions for my players to play. So if you ask me my objective for the match tomorrow, I have only one – to take my players safe, without any kind of injury.
Interviewer: Are you disappointed about how this is turning out? It is not ideal for your team at all in preparations for the new season.
Jose: I know but that’s what we have. We cannot just run away and disappear and not play. So we have to play and try to be lucky. Try to be lucky… and normally, when we say lucky because we want a good result. The result I want tomorrow is to go home without injuries, is the luck I want.
Interviewer: Jose, yesterday, there was a bit of an incident with the plane. Could you just explain what happened?
Jose: With the? (the guy who asked says ‘plane’). With the? (everyone says ‘plane!’). Yeah. Well we were supposed to fly in two planes – half of us in one plane, and half of us in the other. Because the plane was great and we land safely and we were in the hotel in conditions to have dinner. The second group was unlucky, the plane was not good – they had a storm, they had to land in Tianxing (people shout ‘Jose!’) – they had to be in Tianxing for about couple of hours. They thought to come by bus, then they got the plane, and they arrive in the hotel to have dinner 1 o’clock in the morning! So, just one episode, but the players are fine, the people is good – the players are good guys, and they had it with a smile in their faces.
Interviewer: Will you be shaking Pep’s hand tomorrow?
Jose: That’s a question that I don’t want to qualify the question. Because to qualify the question, I would use some unpolite words. Of course, I shake his hand. (‘He said he had no problem shaking your hand’, somebody says.) Of course. Why we should. I don’t understand the question to him. And I don’t understand the question to me. We worked together in Barcelona for three years. We were opponents in other clubs, but we are just professional, and we have a normal relation. So, why shouldn’t we shake hands – I don’t see the reason for the question.
Interviewer: This is a very challenging environment – high humidity, high pollution levels. It’s going to be a challenge isn’t it? Not the ideal conditions for playing football.
Jose: No conditions to play a good game of football.But we have to play. But I repeat, if it was a friendly, it becomes a double friendly, I think. No injuries, play calm, play safe, go home – keep the preparation next week. I think, Man City – they have here all their players – we don’t have. We have six, seven, eight that stayed in Europe. So, what I want is to go to Manchester and start training with the whole group, and play Galatasaray, play Everton, before we play Leicester. And try to be in the best possible conditions for the Premier League.
Interviewer: What are the positive points about being in Beijing?
Jose: The positive points? It is the fans! And this commercial activity which is very important for our club, and we have to do. And we try to do it in the best organized way. But, there are some factors which we cannot control. So, we have to do it. The good thing is that we have a good group, we have a good spirit, and we cope with it. And tomorrow is the last day, and it is over.
Interviewer: Are you worried about the current economic situation in Europe, and Brexit will somehow restrain your resources in the club for you to buy more players…?
Jose: I’m not politician. I’m not politician and I don’t go in that direction.
Interviewer: Hi Jose, are you happy about Portugal’s win in the Euros? How do you feel about it?
Jose: It is another brilliant question (smirks). Are you expecting me to say, no I am very unhappy?
Interviewer: Pep Guardiola said a couple of weeks ago, that going up against such good coaches next season will raise his game. Do you think that, given the talent of managers next season, we’ll get as competitive a Premier League as ever?
Jose: I think he’s right, we all learn with the challenges we have in life. The more difficult the challenges, the more you need from yourself. And I think we are all responsible for the evolution of each other. But in the end, the game is 11 v 11 inside, and they are the ones that play the real game. And they are more important than us.