Interviewer: Are you surprised with Stoke’s start to the season?
Jose: Can happen. It can happen. But I am sure that in the end of May, they will be in the Stoke area in the table. They will be there. So, I play against a good manager and good players. That’s the important thing for me. The table – it is just a moment, just a period – and they will go over it for sure.
Interviewer: Jose, before that game then, will you have players back? Mkhitaryan, Shaw, Blind – who wasn’t in the squad today, presumably rested – what’s the situation ahead of the game injury wise?
Jose: Phil Jones is the only one I can say, important injury – and definitely out for more weeks to come. Mkhi is training now with the team, Luke is due – hopefully, tomorrow he trains with the team too, so we are fine. In terms of our condition, we are fine.
Interviewer: You have highlighted the difficulty with Stoke, but you also play Chelsea and Manchester City. Do you think October will be a defining month for you, where you will know more about your players?
Jose: Every game I know more about my players that are on the pitch. Obviously, I would like to have other players playing more, so I can see more, learn more about them. Today I had in my mind to play… to give Memphis 20-25 minutes, but I couldn’t because of the way I had to make the changes, and then with the problem with Timboo, I had to play a right back. But, we need the squad. That’s for sure. The Europa League is the competition that disturbs more than the other competitions because you play Thursdays.
Interviewer: Do you see October as a huge month, because every game is massive?
Jose: Every game is massive, Watford was a massive game – we lost three points against Watford. Not different than the three points we lost against Man City. So, every game for me, is important. But you are right – we have some big opponents in October, but that is also motivation.
Interviewer: That’s ten games for you so far at Man United. Are you still getting to grips with what your squad can do, or are you happy with where you are some ten games in?
Jose: I need time, I need the players to play, I need to see them in different circumstances, I need to understand more about them. There are so many, and so much to learn about the players that only when you work with them long long time that you know them well. There is always a surpise behind the door, when you work with a team for 3 or 4 or 5 months – there is always a surprise.
Interviewer: Jose, how big of a performance, how big of a win was that?
I think it was a very good performance, it was a very good result. Obviously, it is not easy to win against them, and even more difficult to win in such a comfortable way, as we did. But I think the performance was really good. Obviously, in the second half, nobody was expecting to score 4 more goals, and win 8-0. So, it was more about control, but to be fair, we wanted a little bit more. But, I think that Raineri was very good, because the way he read the game at half-time. His options were very good to keep some balance, because I think he felt at that moment that the game was lost, and was a question of – lose in a heavy way, or to lose with some control of the result and the performance, so I think Raineri did very well.
Interviewer: Where were the improvements with your team today?
I think that we started well for the first time, I can say, because normally our second halves are much better than the firsts. I don’t know, we prepared for the game in the same way, with the same professionalism. Our intention is obviously to start really well, but today, we had good intensity, we had good movement, we had good dynamics. Defensively, we were very sound against a team that, I repeat, is easy to analyze but difficult to cope with. And this time we analyzed and we coped. So, to be back home with the champions is good. Last season, we couldn’t beat them, this season, we beat them already twice; so, I think it is a really good performance.
Interviewer: Before the match, you wanted the focus on the players you did pick and who were out there. Who shone on for you?
The team. I think the team played very well. Point – you score four goals, your striker doesn’t score a goal, and I think the striker plays phenomenal. I think Ibra played absolutely fantastic in the way that he was key in our attacking football and also in our pressure football at the starting. So, probably, you are going in other directions – I am happy when you do that in a positive way, but I prefer to say that my team as a team played very well.
Interviewer: Given that you said that Ibrahimovic was excellent and the players around him were superb, is Wayne Rooney going to have to be patient now to get back into this team, or will he remain a big player for you?
Big player for me (laughs), a big player for United, and a big player for this country. I think I have nothing else to say. He’s my man, I trust him completely. He is as happy as I am in this moment, and that’s a team.
Interviewer: He’s in there happy with his teammates, is he?
Of course! His team won, his United won. That’s normal.
Interviewer: Is it a good start now for Manchester United, looking back at the 6 games as a whole? Do you think it’s been a good start?
We lost 6 points in the Premier League, but the reality is that we are not drawing – we are winning. So, we have four victories, so we have 12 points. So, the situation of two defeats – if you had a lot of draws, and no defeats, in the end, is about the same. So, the fact that we have four victories is really important because we have 12 points. But I think today was about the result, was about the performance, was about the security, was about the happiness of the fans. I don’t know when they had, for the last time, such a good performance – such an impressive result at half-time, 4-0 at half-time. So, good. And Thursday, we have a very important match in the Europa League, and to be back here after a victory is better for us, better for our fans.
Interviewer: Thanks Jose, well done.
Interviewer: How important was that, Jose?
It was important to win, because we came from two defeats in the Premier League, so it was very important to not even draw the match, but you know they are a very dangerous team. We start well this time, we were very strong. We felt their fragility when they concede the second goal, we went for more in that moment and the team, I think, played really well. In the second half, it is difficult to keep that intensity. Raineri, I think, did very well because he felt that the game was over and then he was playing to control the game and try not to lose by more. He was intelligent, experienced. Experience is so important in our job. And the second half was about them to control the game, and about us to control the result, three points, and a great result for us.
Interviewer: Was the first half in particular, a template for what you want to see Manchester United become?
Yes! I can say yes, because we were much more aggressive, we pressed higher, the team was quicker to react when the ball was lost, we were very objective, we had lots of fast football. I think, Mata thinks football very fast and Lingard and Rashford – they give a great intensity for the team, and I think Zlatan – it is one of those matches where the striker doesn’t score one goal in four, but he plays superb.
Having made some big calls to your team selection, did you feel that the end result was exactly how you had envisaged it?
We played the way what we can play, we played really well. The preparation for the game is always good. And then, the game is a game – and there are many things that are not under control. That is why football is so beautiful, and so loved. But the reality is that today, we played very very well until the game was closed. At half time, the game was closed. And in the second half, the game was won.
Do you see this as a team performance, or were there some players in particular that you were absolutely delighted with?
I think for the team to play so well, it is because the players individually played so well. One mistake here, one mistake there? Yes, of course, yes, but consistency is the last thing we have in a team, the principles are the first thing, the dynamica are the second thing, and the last thing is the consistency. So, I cannot expect us to play 90 minutes in a phenomenal way.
Finally, do you think this is the start of something now? We hope this is the start of something.
I just prefer to say that this is the start of a week where we have three matches at home, where it is very important for us to win all three. The six points in the Premier League are very important, and the three points in the Europa League are very important too, so three consecutive home matches in a week. The same way we had a bad week with three defeats, let’s see if this time, playing at home, we can have three victories in a row.
Interviewer: When you were standing there in the rain in that match there, and chance after chance was going a-begging, was it a test of your patience?
Jose: Hmm. I was expecting a difficult match. And at half-time, I told them that we were playing against a very well organized wall with an amazing spirit, with every player fighting for every ball. And we couldn’t give them rest-time. We couldn’t play glimpses of 3-4-5 minutes – good, intense – and then let it go down. It should always be intense, intense, intense, intense. And I think we did that very well because every time we lost the ball, we recovered the ball 2 seconds later. And they had no chance to rest, they had no chance to have the ball in the second half. And we were just going and going and going and going, a new wave of attack, and I think when we brought the kid to the game, we gave them a diversity in football. Because we start playing in different way. And of course, you need a little bit of luck to score, and in the end, we should clearly score before. So, I’m very happy and I think we deserve completely. But I also have to say that Hull City played their game to get their point in a fantastic game.
Interviewer: Are you impressed with the kid since you arrived at the club, Rashford?
Jose: He’s very good. He’s very good. I know that he’s very good since last season but working with him everyday, I think the same. And, the two matches where we were needing a winning goal – against Leicester and now today – he came on and he give us diversity in our football. Because he’s different than Rooney, he’s different than Zlatan, so I’m really happy with him, but also I’m really happy with the squad and with the team.
Interviewer: I just wanted to tell you how different you are to Louis van Gaal, and how much players change. Have you had to change a lot, because its a lot more exciting watching Man United now? Have you had to change a lot of the players’ mindsets to get them back to…?
Jose: No. Examples are the ways you think football. And I think the most important thing is that you train related to what you want. And the way we train, we try to give the players the conditions to play the way we want them to play. We don’t defend man-to-man. Our defenders, they don’t chase their opponents, they play zonal. When we have the ball, we have some players that become triggers of our movement. And the movement we try to make is in front of the ball, not behind the ball. Because behind the ball is just a safety pass line, and we don’t want to play many times the safety pass line. So, we play – we are playing different, we have a lot to improve, but the players are very good. I have to say the players are very good players, so they make my work easier.
Interviewer: Jose, is it going to be hard to keep Rashford out when he has an impact like that on the match, clearly the match winner? Or, is he going to accept maybe that coming off the bench is…?
Jose: It’s not the match winner that makes me change my mind. The match winner, of course, is great. But it is the little bit the same when a player makes a defensive mistake and you lose because of it. If the player is playing very very well, you are not going to drop the player because he made a mistake. I have two weeks before the next match, I have to analyze the opponent, I have to see the way my boys are coming from the national teams, because they are going to arrive just a couple of days before that game.
Interviewer: I ask the question because the next game is Manchester City, and he scored a fantastic goal against Manchester City last season.
Jose: Yeah, he can play, but he can also be on the bench. I don’t know. I have to analyze. The important thing is that he’s working very well, he’s 18 years old. Our striker no. 1, if you can say that, because he is our target man – is also an amazing player, to play together with him. Because Zlatan is not just a goal scorer, he’s a player who likes to associate, and to drop back, and to open spaces for the second man. We are starting the matches with the second man behind Zlatan. We can start matches, or some matches, with the player in front of Zlatan, with Zlatan a little bit behind. So, the kid is going to play a lot of matches, for sure.
Interviewer: As a combination, how dangerous can they be, with the both of them on the pitch together?
Jose: But we have to be dominant. Very dominant. Because to play that way, we must be very very dominant. If the opponent has the ball, they can hurt us. Because then, we will be more exposed. So, it is a question of find the right balance. But today, I saw the team so dominant – I saw the way Fellaini and the two central defenders were controlling everything in counter-attack – long, high, short – that I was very comfortable to do that. But, now I think that I am going to lose Fellaini for a while.
Interviewer: What does it say for your team spirit to score in the 92nd minute, and how have you developed that so quickly?
Jose: You know, I was telling them at half time that – today is Saturday, so … – on the training session on Wednesday, they were more aggressive, more competitive, faster, more intense than the first half today. And I told them when you train this way on the training session on Wednesday, I had to stop the session because it was too much. Give me that in the second half. So, there is a relation between the way they are training, and the way they are playing and the way they are syncing. Very good, I am very happy. Long way to go, we have a lot to improve. We will have ups and downs during the season but I think for the first month – 4 matches, 4 victories, 9 points, 1 Community Shield – it couldn’t be better for us. Fellaini has a muscular injury in his back, and it’s not good. I think he has to go, and they have to look at him, but I think he has to travel. (How long do you think he’ll be out?) I don’t like to say that, but it’s bad.
Interviewer: Jose, we used to call it Fergie time when United used to score in stoppage time. Did you enjoy your first taste of that as United manager?
Jose: I’m happy – that for many, many, many, many years – Man United fans still call it Fergie time. I’m more than happy with that, such a legend in the club, I’m more than happy to say that – “we won at Fergie time”. I’m more than happy with that.
Interviewer: Did you at any point think that this is just not going to happen for us?
Jose: No. Until the last second. Because if we win, it is not a miracle – it is just a consequence of what we were doing on the pitch. We finished the game with Valencia and Luke Shaw playing as wingers. We played with Rooney and Mkhitaryan in the inside, we play with Zlatan and Marcus Rashford, strikers. We play with Paul, behind these two lines. So, we went with everything. We put everything, every ammunition on the pitch. And the intensity, and the rhythm of the game, and the creation of chances, and the diversity of the football we were playing – we should score before, we had chances to score before. But I have also to say, a Man United man like Mike Phelan organized his wall in an amazing way, with a fantastic spirit, trying everything to stop us, and they were almost successful on that.
Interviewer: And you have such a strong squad, with players that can make a genuine impact. And this is I guess, what we saw today.
Jose: This is the squad, and I have to make decisions. But the squad is there, waiting for me with lots of solutions. And they are working so well during the week that I trust that they are ready to come and to give an important contribution. So, of course, I am really happy.
Interviewer: What we saw today shows why the Premier League is so watched around the world. One team attacking, one team defending, pouring with rain, last minute winner. Crazy game.
Jose: Yeah, and could happen that they win. They went well with a shot, deflected, de Gea goes to one side, ball goes to corner. If the ball goes in, they win. But I think we shouldn’t be afraid of this. We want to win matches, we have to take our risks, and today we got two amazing points in the last couple of minutes.
Interviewer: Well, thanks very much for that. Cheers.
Jose: Yeah, I’m recovering. I think we did everything to win. I know when we score – minute 90-something – we always speak about a bit of luck, bit of a star behind us, but I think the reality is that we deserve it, because especially in the second half, we were so dominant, we were so intense in our rhythm, in our attacking wave that I always believed that sooner or later, the goal would arrive. But I would have to say that Hull City did an amazing job, they defended with everything. They couldn’t counter-attack because we played very well defensively. Every time we lost the ball, we were really really strong. But, I think they did fantastically well, and congratulations to them. And if I was the chairman, I would give immediately the job to Mike Phelan because it is in the eyes of everyone that the players are giving everything, the players are with him, the players cannot do more than what they did. So, congratulations to Mike and to all the boys.
Interviewer: Absolutely, and I imagine that the feeling will be the same when it comes to Mike Phelan. Marcus Rashford. He’s had to wait for his chance, hasn’t he? Wondering when it would come, when it did come, he took it. What will be your words to him when you get back into the dressing room?
Jose: A big smile and a big hug, I think is enough. He’s working extremely well, and both times when the team was in trouble and needing one goal, Community Shield with the score 1-1, and here 0-0, he comes on and he gives a special contribution. And everybody’s speaking about him, or Ibra. They can play together, like we show today, and eventually with more work, he can even play coming from one of the sides. But, I think the kid is a striker and when you play with him and Ibra together, he gives different problems to the opposition. Sometimes, Ibra drops back because he always likes to play with ball at his feet. This kid is faster, he has penetration, he has an appetite to attack the last line. So, we tried everything, we tried everything. I was thinking last change with him, Marouane out, but I was a bit afraid of them in the set pieces, and you know sometimes how these things happen. Dominate, dominate, dominate – and then you go there in the last minute of the game, one set piece and you lose the game. And Marouane is a special guy for us in the defensive work, but I think everyone played well, and they gave everything, and specially this kind of spirit – which I think is amazing – because you only win these matches if you want to win a lot. If you are in a comfortable situation, and you think that a point is not bad, or let’s see what’s going to happen – normally you don’t win. But the boys believed till the last minute, and of course, I feel sorry for Hull, because they couldn’t do more to get the point, but I think my guys deserve, and I think the way the fans supported them, specially in the second half, I think the fans could also see that we were giving everything.
Interviwer: Jose, it’s Rio here. Are you there? I know you said it’s hard on your heart, but in the last five minutes, we were up here thinking, “Even if it’s 0-0, they’re going for it.” In the last couple of years, we haven’t seen that. We’ve been frustrated sitting there, watching it in the studio, and the fans at home. How do you, as a manager, instill this mentality in your team to keep going in the last five minutes?
Jose: We start thinking about what this game could be, even before the game starts. Because we know the way they defend, we know that today they wouldn’t play Huddlestone more in front, they would play Huddlestone in a line of 3 with Meyler and Clucas. The wingers, they defend all the time, so, we knew that we were going to find a very compact wall. Tactically you can change things, you can bring different situations, you can try to create new problems for the opponent, but it is the mental side of it that can make a difference. And we speak about this all the time. And we speak about our objective – it is only one, is to be champions. If in the end of the season, we finish 2nd, 3rd or 4th – it is because somebody was better than us. If we finish 5th or 6th, it is because we were not good enough. But, we have to play to win every game. If we don’t win, we don’t win. And of course, we know that we are not going to win every game, but the mentality is there, the boys are giving everything. And for me, it is amazing when I look to my side and I see the people on the bench suffering with us, and jumping with the goal, we have a really good group, and it is a privilege for me to work with these guys
Interviewer: Well, you can have a break now. You can go home, maybe go house hunting if you want because it’s the international break.But when you sit down and you assess what has happened so far in the first three PL games, how do you refer on your start to the club?
Jose: I think we change the team, we change the dynamics, we change the way we think football, but also the way we think the competitions, and also the way we think the day-by-day in the club. I know Mr. van Gaal so well, because we worked together, and we are so so different in almost every aspect of our job, and sometimes when you arrive in a club, and the players are not so open for change, it is more difficult. The players were open, the players were waiting for me – I can say that way. They were waiting to give everything – I think we play different football. When the ball goes to a fullback, I think you see what we do this season, and what we did previously – it is an example. I think in many matches, the fullbacks are the first to receive the building-up pass, and then it is a trigger. What do you do with the trigger? You play the ball back to the central defender, or you start trying to find the lines to attack the last line? That’s what we are trying to do. Defensively, we don’t play man-to-man, we play zonal. I think the players are growing up a lot because they feel much more comfortable that way, and I am really really happy. I am really happy with the evolution of the team, and I think we can obviously do much much better because the players are very good. My substitutes on the bench are very good. Today, I was looking to the bench and I was counting the solutions – and all of them, good solutions. And I kept Ashley Young on the bench, I kept Memphis Depay at home – the solutions are all really good, the squad is much better than what they show last season. Of course, I think we bought well, but the players are better than what they show last season, so I think we are in a good direction. We are not going to be consistent, I think we are going to be a little bit down-up in some moments, because this is part of the evolution of the team, but I trust the guys a lot and my feeling is that they also trust me.
Interviewer: So, if you’re happy with your strength and depth, no more business before 11 o’clock on Wednesday night?
Jose: No, no, no. I want to keep every player. I want to go to Europa League. Imagine I go to the Europa League, and I change the four defenders – I play Darmian, Phil Jones, Smalling and Marcos Rojo – and I rest four players, and I play with four new. Or I rest Ibra, Mata and Martial, and I play Mkhitaryan, Marcus Rashford, and Ashley Young – so, I have a very good squad. I am really happy with what I have in my hands, and I repeat, it is a privelige for me to work with my boys.
You must be delighted, Jose, with the performance, and also the crowd, what you asked for.
Jose: Yeah, very happy. I’m very happy. The crowd was magnificent. I think they are creating a good relation with the team, with the players. Even players that I could feel in previous years, the relation was not the best. The players are growing up and the relation in the crowd is the same. A clear example – Fellaini. He’s playing so well that he’s changing completely the relation. But I’m happy with the result, I’m happy with the performance – I think it is difficult to be better – in this moment. In this moment, it is difficult to be better. We are changing things step-by-step. We are bringing new things to our game, the style of play is different. The team cannot be consistent for 90 minutes. The opponents are good, they have good quality. They come with their intentions so when we start the game, and they play in that closed diamond in midfield, just to try to keep possession of the ball – not to hurt, just to keep possession of the ball, you have to be mentally very, very strong to cope with it. But then, we score goals, and we were always in control. Very good.
How did you think your new signings went? Especially Zlatan and Pogba?
Jose: I think they were very, very good. But, I think Eric is the same. I think, Mkhitaryan, the last 20 minutes, he show – and the crowd was reacting to the super quality of the boy. But what pleases me more is not just the new guys – it is the others that are coming to a different level. The way Valencia is playing – security. Blind, as I was saying, Marouane, I could give other examples. So, we are fine. For this moment of the season, we are fine.
What did you think of Paul’s performance today?
Jose: I think he was fantastic, and the fact that his first action was bad – he loses control of possession, he gives a counter attack to the opponent, a direct free kick to the opponent – you can see even more the ego, the personality. He is so comfortable under that skin of a star. He’s so confident the way he plays. I think for a 10-day work, first match of a season, not even 10 minutes of a friendly – I think he played phenomenal.
Do you think, Jose, that that will be the position he’ll play in most weeks?
Jose: I don’t know what you mean, because I don’t know what position you mean.
What position would you define for him?
Jose: I don’t know.
What did you say to him?
Jose: Play (smiles). No, no, no, we have to build a certain organization around him – but he has to play free. And for a player to play with the freedom he had, we have to build a certain organization around him. So, the moment we lose the ball, we have to be protected. The moment he starts his movement forward, even when the team is in the first phase, we need to bring other players to the first phase.But he has to play with freedom. Of course, last 10 minutes, 2-0 – now, more disciple, more tactical organization, but this is the kind of guy that has to play free. And I think he brought a lot to the team, so good.
And you seemed to give a lot of very specific instructions to some players from the touchline. What were the kind of things you were looking to improve or change in their play?
Jose: I was speaking for 90 minutes, so it is difficult to say (laughs). Sometimes, it is related to position, sometimes when we lose the ball, I want them to react in a certain way. Sometimes it is when we recover the ball, so, I don’t know – so many things. And sometimes I’m not even speaking to the players – I’m speaking to myself.
Jose, what’s changed with Marouane Fellaini because he’s been a rock for you in the opening two Premier League games?
Jose: Maybe a simple phone call can make a difference. A player that was feeling not loved, a player that during the season and specially when the market opened, everybody was saying he was leaving. Everybody was saying, writing that he was not a player for me. Everybody was saying he was a player on the move – maybe a simple phone call the day after my presentation as Man Utd manager change a lot, because I told him just simply – forget everything you read, forget everything. With me, you don’t leave for sure. Maybe that word of confidence – unexpected for him – because he was not expecting that, maybe changed. And then I think the more organized the team plays, the easier for the players to feel confident. So, he’s playing well. He played well with Carrick, he played well with Herrera, he played well with Paul, so he’s full of confidence. But, I have so many good players. I arrive in the dressing room after the match, and I was happy and then I become sad. Because I arrive there and all the other guys were there in their nice Paul Smith suits, but not the tracksuit. Not playing, or even being on the bench. So when I look to Carrick, Memphis, Jones, all these guys that I don’t select – I’m desperate for September. Because September, we have Capital Cup, Europa League, we have seven matches, and in September, they all play, and then I’m happy for them.
Is Zlatan your designated penalty taker? It was Wayne last season, but has he now assumed…?
Jose: Well, I designate three – Paul, Wayne and Zlatan. And sometimes I like the players to have the feeling – it is for me. But Paul and Wayne – they told themselves, Zlatan, you are the first when the penalty comes – you are the first option. If you don’t wanna take for some reason, then we are here. But, you are the man. So, between them, they made a decision.
Jose, you mentioned Fellaini in the phone call. There was an arm around Mata, when he came off at the end of the game, and the players you didn’t get to select. How big a challenge is it going to be – the man-management of this squad? Would it be the biggest challenge of your career?
Jose: That’s what I’m saying – I need September. Because the relation can be good, the players can be great professionals. They can feel that I trust all of them but a player is a player – and when a player doesn’t play one game, he doesn’t play two, he doesn’t play three, the frustration comes, and it is difficult to train well. And when they start not training well, it is the moment where I have a reason for not selecting them, and is a moment where they go down the hill. So, I need September. Because all these guys – they need to play, they deserve to play. So, Darmian, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Jones… okay Smalling today, he was ready with us. Marcos Rojo, Romero, then Herrera, Carrick, Schneiderlin, Ashley Young, Memphis Depay, Marcus Rashford (gasps) – we have big squad and top quality squad. So, I need September, I need September urgently.
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.