Interviewer: Jose, how satisfying was that? It seemed to have everything that you would want on your first day back.
Jose: I’m really happy. I think it was a very good week of work for us. It start with a very good feeling of winning the Community Shield for us, but the week was very good, we prepared the game really well. So, we knew first 15-20 minutes would be like this – with them playing at high intensity, pressing a lot in the middle of the pitch, so we had to control. After that, we started finding our places to play and in the second half, it was a very complete performance because the first goal gave us the confidence, we were looking for more. We were playing very fluent, and very objective, and the attacking players were all in the game. But then, one mistake, one goal, and then we have to go to control. Because, it’s dangerous, the Premier League is dangerous, so 3-1 control, but even so, it is a good experience for the team, because you win most matches by 1 goal difference, max 2, and you have to know how to control the game, and we did that very well too, so I think the performance was good. Based on the good collective performance also come some very good individual performances.So, I think we deserved to win and I’m happy.
Interviewer: Did you make a statement there, Jose? Opening round of the Premier League, big win, is that a statement… ?
Jose: I don’t think they need a statement. I think everybody knows that we are going to fight for the title. Win it or not win it – it is a different story. But everybody knows that we are going to. We don’t hide in our words, we don’t hide in our approach, so we are going to fight until it is possible. If one day, it is not mathematically possible, then we think about Top 4, which will be one step ahead in relation to the past seasons, and would be fine. But, we want more than fine, and we want to fight for the title, so let’s see what happens.
Interviewer: But you know how important it is to start the season well. Obviously, when you’ve won titles before, you’ve always led from the front…
Jose: Yeah, but I start bad and I won the treble. You know, I start bad with Inter – one draw at home, and then we won everything. In Porto, happened the same – we draw at home and then we win the treble too, so you never know. But, the reality is that win the Community Shield – it is not because of the shield, it is because of the feeling of a victory – brings some happiness, some confidence. Then one match away, another victory, so I think the first match at home, which is always a match where people think that some pressure. I think that on Friday, we go with a good feeling and I think Old Trafford will be waiting for our guys.
Interviewer: Zlatan Ibrahimovic – everybody has an image of him. Just what has he brought to your dressing room, and just how much of a pivotal signing may he become?
Jose: Look, the first thing I can tell you is that his table for breakfast, and his table for meals is surrounded by the young ones. He is surrounded by the kids – Luke Shaw, Marcus Rashford – these are the guys that are with him in the table, so he knows what he can be for them. But for the team, you have to forget the passport, you have to forget the 34 years old, because the body and the mentality is not of a 34 year old guy, so I think he’s in the top of his qualities.
Interviewer: Is Eric Bailly turning out to be the kind of defender you had in mind when you went fetching in the market?
Jose: When we buy someone like him, we always have the question mark which is the way his personality adapts to a complete different situation than before.Playing in Spain is different than in England. Playing with Villareal is different than with Man U. Play to finish 4, 5 or 6 in the table is different than playing to try to win it – but he’s showing big personality which is incredible and, he was injured against Leicester. He told nothing, he played the 90 minutes. The next day he can’t train, and he trained with the team yesterday for the first time. He was all week not training and with a problem. Hopefully, we were lucky because he did an amazing work with one physio and one of my fitness coaches.And he was able for another performance. But, I think to be surrounded by organization makes life easier. And the team was very solid, very compact – he was surrounded by Valencia on his right, Blind on his left, Marouane and Herrera in front of him, so we create a habitat of stability, but the reality is that he’s showing great qualities.
Interviewer: Jose, with respect to the game tonight, did you worry at all? Did you sleep all right? Were there any nerves at all?
Jose: In the hotel, was a boxing fight on the second floor. I tried to go, but no chance, too many people and the people were too happy, so I didn’t have the chance to go. But to be honest, before the match, a little bit.. yeah. And for somebody with so many years of football, to have that feeling is normal. I think it’s normal, I never forget that one day, I come with Real Madrid to Old Trafford, and before the game, I was asking Sir Alex, are you still nervous? Yes. So, I understood. Never change. Experience helps in many things, but you have always a little feeling, which is good.
Interviewer: Jose, for the first two goals, you were a bit subdued. But for the third goal, you let yourself go a bit. Can you explain why that was so?
Jose: I thought the third goal was the end of the game. But wasn’t – one mistake, one goal, game open again. This is the Premier League – you make mistakes, you are punished by quality. Every team quality – you make one mistake, you don’t press the ball, you don’t defend inside, you are in trouble. So, I thought – 3-0, game over, not over.
Interviewer: But what about the quality of the goal – beautiful strike?
Jose: Yeah, beautiful strike. The strike is beautiful, but also the movement is good, and I think Anthony is coming step by step, but he helped. Some glimpses of what he can do too. And when you look to the players that were not on the pitch – Lingard, Rashford, Mkhitaryan, Memphis Depay, Ashley Young – we have a lot. We have a lot, so when September arrives, and Capital Cup arrives, Europa League arrive, we have the people to play, and to try to be competitive in every competition.