Pre-Match Press Conference: Jose Mourinho (Southampton at Home, 19th August, PL)

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Jose Mourinho speaking to the press

Interviewer: Jose, a lot of opposition players have said in recent years that Old Trafford had lost its fear factor, and you come to Old Trafford with your superb home league record with your previous clubs. Can you bring that fear factor back?

Jose: Not me. Not me. The team, yes. And the fans too. And I think everything starts there. The relation between the team and the fans. If at Old Trafford, a couple of thousand away opponents can be more supportive and more noisy than 70-something thousand, then we are in trouble. And means that there is no connection between the team and the supporters. If there is connection, I think that factor of being really strong at home has to come back. But I think everything starts on that relation between the team and the fans – the way the team plays, the way the team behaves, the model of play – but that includes a lot – their mental approach. If the fans, they feel that connection, they want to also play, and if the fans play, no chance for opponent.

Interviewer: Jose, how’s Paul Pogba settled, and how ready is he? Will he start this weekend?

Jose: Look, we played with some players against Leicester with less training than Paul. We had guys coming back from the Euro and the holidays, one week of training, and they play against Leicester – not in the top of their game. Not ready for 90 minutes, but they play and they perform, and it was a good way for them to accelerate their process because in this moment, they are building a process of their form. Paul is training for more than a week, around 10/11 days. The adaptation is really easy because he’s a boy from here, he knows the club, he knows everybody. No need of time to adapt, need time to build his condition and build his understanding of the way the team plays or tries to play. So, I think, yes, he’s ready to play. 90 minutes, I don’t believe. Super performance, I don’t believe. But in conditions to accelerate his process of integration into the team, that’s for sure.

Interviewer: Jose, whereabouts do you see him playing? The way you’ve set up your side in the first two games, do you think he fits into that, or do you have to change the way you’ve been playing slightly?

Jose: Sometimes even without you noticing, we change details. So, if you are expecting us to change dramatically the system to fit the player, we are not going to do that. We are not going to play with 5 in the back because in Juventus, he was playing with 5 in the back, and he played there for many years in that system – we are not going  to do that. So, we are not going for dramatic changes. But there are details in the game where, yes, we have to change details. Against Leicester, played Michael Carrick, against Bournemouth, played Ander Herrera – they are different players, and because they are different players, we change the way they play. We change the way Fellaini plays, because Fellaini was the one playing with them. So, when we play with Schneiderlin or with Pogba or with the guys that we have, there are always going to be details that are going to be changed. But not the master lines of our model of play.

Interviewer: You mentioned on Sunday as well that Zlatan, you considered him being an important player for 2 years at Manchester United. When he originally signed, it was 1 year and an option. You don’t think that it’s even a doubt that he will be here in 2 years?

Jose: No. Because, I see him happy. I ask everyday because I know how important he is – the family guy that he is – I ask him everyday about his wife, kids, integration, house, everything is fine. Everybody’s happy. His motivation is really high, so yes, I see him here – no doubts for the next two years, no doubt.

Interviewer: Jose, Eric Bailly seems very happy as well. The fans have taken to him. Are you surprised with the speed with which he has adapted, and the way in which he has performed?

Jose: I am surprised with such a strong personality, you know. Young boy, playing in a completely different competition, in a club without the same ambitions, expectation, pressure as Man United. Comes here, the first match, Wembley, first match of the season, away – comfortable, stable, leading, communication. Doesn’t speak good English, but lots of people around him, they speak French and Spanish. So, he’s even comfortable on communication. David is Spanish, Valencia speaks Spanish, Herrera speaks Spanish, Zlatan speaks French, so very comfortable at the communication level. So yes, surprised me a little bit, surprised me a little bit.

Interviewer: Jose, obviously, Southampton have come into this as well with the link with Jose Fonte. If you were in this, how would you feel ahead of a big game – one of your players linked with the opposition?

Jose: I don’t comment, I don’t care. I don’t care.

Interviewer: Are you still looking to do business before the end of this transfer window?

Jose: The market is open till the 31st of August, but I keep saying that I am very happy with the players I have and I keep saying that I don’t speak about players from other clubs.

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3 thoughts on “Pre-Match Press Conference: Jose Mourinho (Southampton at Home, 19th August, PL)

    1. He still handles the press very well, and does not answer questions he does not want to. But yes, he is different from his last stint at Chelsea where he was under pressure in every game.

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