Interviewer: Jose, what about the performance?
Jose: Good enough, good enough to deserve the victory, and to be in control. I know probably, you go to numbers and you see that I had moments of ball possession. But I need that, because the way they play, with that closed diamond, it is a very good system to keep the ball and to hide the ball from the opponents. But, it didn’t create danger – we were always in control and I think we won comfortably and the result could (have been) be bigger.
Interviewer: It’s only the second game of the season, but what pleased you the most in terms of progress from the first week?
Jose: It is a natural evolution of things, I think. It is impossible to be faster than what we are doing. The way we are playing, the kind of football we are trying to play, sometimes we don’t but we always try to do that kind of football. The way the team is defending because it is a completely different way to defend with. We defend now zonal, which is much more difficult to defend as man-to-man. So evolution step-by-step, integration, players working together – some players working for one week like Paul, others two weeks, three weeks, four weeks, they were arriving step-by-step. And impossible to demand more from the boys. A great spirit, everybody’s working really hard and I’m pleased.
Interviewer: In terms of an aerial threat, when a ball like that is put into the area, Zlatan Ibrahimovic – is he virtually unstoppable?
Jose: He is very good in the air, but he is very good with his feet. He holds the ball better than anyone, his movement is great. When he drops back, he gives the team another option to play and to keep possession of the ball so I’m very happy with his performance. But again, I think globally, the team was good and the collective effort to keep the clean sheet, and everybody working really hard. And again, I’m hurt by some decisions to leave some players out, not to play them. Because the team is a really great team, and they all work, and they all deserve to play. But in this moment, I have to make my options and there is only one match per week. I am desperate for September to arrive for Capital Cup, for Europa League and then, they get what they all deserve – which is to play.
Interviewer: Was it a bonus, the amount of minutes Paul Pogba played? And what did you make of his contribution tonight?
Jose: I think he was so good. Everything that was individual, he was so good. Everything that was collectively, he’s learning how to play with us but I’m really happy. There are obviously details that we have to improve. We have different ways to play – one day he can play even more offensively than he did today, but he’s a player that needs that freedom that he has. I think that if you go for the graphics that sometimes you have like we will also have tomorrow, you see the area that he covers defensively as well as offensively to try to get the ball in play. So, I couldn’t be happier with him but the reality is that Fellaini in my opinion was superb. Ander Herrera, the same. Carrick, when he plays, Schneiderlin, looking for an opportunity – I have a big squad, and top quality guys.
Interviewer: Lastly, you said you wanted atmosphere. You wanted the fans to be happy. What did you get?
Jose: Couldn’t be better! Couldn’t be better. I got what I want, I got what the players need, what the players deserve. I think they are happy, not just with the results, I think they are happy with some details of our game that belong to the nature of this club, so… We cannot be the same United of the 80s or the 90s or the early 2000s, because football changes a lot, opponents change a lot. This Southampton is not the same Southampton of 20 years ago, even with Matt le Tissier. So, there is an evolution in things, and we have to go in relation to that. But, we brought to the game some aspects of the United culture, and I think the first goal is an incredible example of that.
Interviewer: Thank you, Jose.
Interviewer: Happy with that?
Jose: Very happy. I know we cannot play 90 minutes the way we want. Impossible to have that consistency for 90 minutes. But in many moments in long periods in the game, we played offensively like we want to play. We scored goals, create chances, and then defensively I think we were very good during all the game – very good, very solid with 10 players defending, not 6, or 7 or 8 – so collective effort. I’m so pleased for the boys. And the fans – incredible. Absolutely incredible, their support. And like this, if the team grows up step by step, week after week, we can be happy.
Interviewer: 90 minutes for Paul Pogba, despite the fact that he hasn’t really had any pre-season, but he looks…
Jose: He could play extra time, he could play extra time (laughs). Phenomenal, phenomenal, and surrounded by organization, surrounded by vision for the game. Fellaini was so good, the way the wingers were closing the spaces inside. I’m so happy with the organization of the team.
Interviewer: Did Pogba do exactly what you wanted him to do when you bought him? He did exactly what you bought him for?
Jose: Everything that was individual, obviously he was superb. The other things related to the team organization, he tried really hard to do it. He did very well, many many things. When I was feeling that he was losing a little bit of the consistency and the precision was when I brought Herrera to close the inside spaces and to close the defensive door, so I couldn’t be happier with the boy too.
Interviewer: And you can’t keep Zlatan out of the headlines. You give him a chance, and he puts it in!
Jose: But the day he doesn’t score, the contribution will still be there. Because he cannot score every game, but the way he holds the ball, the way he’s a target man when the team is not in control of the game, he drops back. He comes to the organization, he gives stability to the team – I think he was very good again.
Interviewer: Can I ask you about Luke Shaw as well? Obviously, we missed him badly last year as well but did he show tonight, again, what he can be?
Jose: Yeah, Luke and Antonio, they had to be offensive when they had to be offensive, they were very good defensively. They had always very good support from our wingers to close down the opponents. The team, we can go player by player and speak well about them, because I don’t think we can criticize any one of them, but I think collectively, they were organized, they were compact. They know how to play for the result in the last 10 minutes, we try to kill the game. But when you don’t kill the game, minutes 60-70 we had chances – Martial, face to face with the keeper – when you don’t kill the game in that moment, in the last 10 minutes, you realize that is the moment to control. So they want to control, I want to control – the changes I made in that moment were to control, you need that at that moment with some people getting tired, so I think we did very well and the fans – they won like us because their contribution was amazing.
Interviewer: And did you feel at home on that dugout? Or on that touchline?
Jose: Oh yes, completely. Completely at home. I know that I’m not a very nice guy, I’m not going and walking and waving and smiling because it is not my nature in matchday, because when I leave the dressing room, I go already playing my game. So, I’m not a nice face there to wave people, to smile people. But, I want them to know that I’m so happy with what they gave us.
Interviewer: Thanks very much.