Date: 5th August, 2016
Interviewer: Good afternoon, Jose. Lots already has been said ahead of not just this Sunday, but of the season as a whole. Firstly, could you clear the situation with Bastian Schweinsteiger now and what’s actually happening with him?
Jose: What is happening… is happening… What is happening is what is happening in every club in the world, which is – the manager decides his squad, and choose a certain number of players to face the season, and that’s it. And, I normally like to work with 20 players, plus the 3 goalkeepers – which is what I do for 15 years. Because we have so many players and at the same time, because we have so many competitions, and specially the Europa League competition. It is a competition that changes a lot – the profile of the season – because you can play 15 matches, you play on Thursday, you have a big risk of travelling a lot. Normally, you are going to play the Premier League on Sundays, so I made the decision to be with 23 players, plus 3 goalkeepers – which I think is still a lot. And I had to make my decisions.Simple.
Interviewer: So then, if he’s not got a Manchester United future because you say you’ve got your squad ready, you say you’ve got your number ready. Does that include, then, a big big signing over the next few days that we can expect?
Jose: Yes. Yes. We have 22 now, and we are going to have 23.
Interviewer: Jose, the name that’s always mentioned is Paul Pogba. I know you don’t like to talk about other team’s players, but this situation has gone on for a long long time. Are you confident that that 23rd player is going to be him?
Jose: You are right – I don’t like to speak about other clubs, players from other clubs. Other managers, they like to do that. They like to speak about my club, they like to speak about my players. I am very pragmatic about this. Only thing that matters to me is what happens in my house – not in the house of my neighbours. And Pogba is a Juventus player, until officially he isn’t. So, we stay like this. But honestly, the market closes on the 31st of August, but I think my club is trying to do everything to close our market before the 14th of August. So normally, in next week, we’ll have our squad closed.
Interviewer: In terms of Sunday’s game, is it important to win a trophy? Is it important to see your players? Is it important to get fit? What is the aim of Sunday?
Jose: You are right. Everything is important. If you could choose, everything is important. Our pre-season was strange – was a good pre-season for some players, but for other players, it was not enough. The number of matches was not enough. The match we didn’t play against Man City was really bad for us. The week of work – that I can change and say – the week of no work in China was really bad for us. So, we need to train. We need to play, we need minutes for the players. We need to train against other teams – like we did against Everton, like we did against Galatasaray, we need to train against other teams. But that is over. Now, we have no chance to train against other teams.Now we have Leicester, before the Premier League and it’s not a training session against another team – it’s a game. And I think specially for the players that were involved in last season – I think for them, it must have a meaning. Because to play the Community Shield, you need to be the Champion or you need to win the FA Cup. And they won the FA Cup, so I think we have to face it as a game. Of course, we have six changes – not three, we have six. So that gives me the chance to give minutes to some people, gives me the chance to play with some players that I know that they cannot play for 90 minutes, because they have no condition to play for 90 minutes. So it’ll be a little bit of everything. But of course, we are going to try and win it.
Interviewer: A Jose Mourinho team plays very different to a Louis van Gaal team. Are the players responding well to what you’re teaching them, and is that going to take a bit of time for them to truly be what you want them to be?
Jose: Yeah, I think your words are very correct because you say my teams are very different from Mr. van Gaal’s teams, and that’s correct. I want to make it clear that I am not saying that my teams are better, or my teams have better ideas, or my principles of play are better – not at all. So, you’re question was very, very correct. Yes, my teams are different than Mr. van Gaal and it’s a difficult situation – it’s a difficult situation to change the dynamics. It would be easier for me to have 20 new players, and start from zero. For two years, they had some principles of play that are not my principles of play. Clearly, are not. But the players are players – and without losing their identity, they always try to adapt to what the manager wants. And of course, after two years of work, there are things in their brain that are automatic – and that is difficult to change. But we are working hard, and the players are trying everything. And of course, we make mistakes and of course, we are far from perfection – but the players, they are giving everything to try to adapt, and step-by-step, my team is going to be my team.
Interviewer: Which club do you think has had the best transfer window in the Premier League? Is it Manchester United?
Jose: I don’t know. I only speak about us. Again, I heard already two of my colleagues from other Premier League clubs are speaking about us. I have to confess I don’t like it. I have to confess that that is not ethical. But there are things that when I do, it is unethical, but when others don’t do, nobody says that.Everything is normal. But the reality is I don’t speak about the others – they can do what they want. I think our market was good – we made decisions. We decided to bring four players, not ten. We decided to bring four that are Man United level. We decided to bring four that we think can really improve the squad, and not just be one more. And this is the profile of our market. We got a young central defender that needs time to be a top one – but he has top potential, and we believe a lot in him. We brought a creative player, a player that we know the quality he has. We bought a super striker, and we are going to get a very good midfield player, so we try to get the balance. So I’m happy with my squad, I’m happy with the effort that the club did, and is still doing for us. And the others – it’s their problem, they can do what they want.