Jose Mourinho has suggested that Manchester United are no longer “expected to win trophies” as the ex-Red Devils boss continues to rebuild his reputation in Italy with Roma
Image: Luciano Rossi/AS Roma)
Mourinho was the last boss to bring silverware to Old Trafford, with United unable to build on the successful 2016/17 campaign they enjoyed under his Portuguese. The ex-Chelsea chief lifted the Community Shield, the Carabao Cup and the Europa League in his maiden season at United; Louis van Gaal (FA Cup) is the only other manager who has guided United to silverware since Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down back in 2013.
Despite his stunning start in Manchester, things turned sour and Mourinho was axed after just two-and-a-half-years at the helm. Having been sacked from his next job at Tottenham, the 59-year-old has rebuilt his reputation with Roma and is preparing for the Europa Conference League final – the Italian outfit’s first European final in 31 years. United, meanwhile, are still trying to find a formula for success and are set for a summer rebuild under Ten Hag.
There were some suggestions that Mourinho was too outdated for modern football, but the icon and Carlo Ancelotti – who was hit with similar criticism after spending time at Everton – have silenced their critics. And Mourinho has suggested that the issue was with their former clubs, rather than themselves.
He said: “I believe that the problem with Carlo Ancelotti was that when you coach Everton you are not about to win the Champions League. And with me, you know, people they saw me taking up jobs where they thought that I could win trophies but they were not jobs where we were expected to lift trophies.
“But when you have such a winning career on a cyclical basis so to speak, you can expect that, people can say that. Personally I’m not worried about this [being replaced by younger coaches]. I do not think and focus on the generations, I focus on quality.”
He continued: “It’s a matter of quality, motivation, passion. Without passion you are finished. Without pressure in the build-up to big games you are finished. I know very well myself, I know very well Carlito as well, but there are more examples that we could make.
“But we are the ones who will call it when we want to stop, and I’m afraid people will have to wait a long time before I say that it’s over!”
Eyebrows were raised when Mourinho took on the Roma job after he was axed by Tottenham, but the the former Inter Milan boss has enjoyed a successful year in Rome. And while he admitted he is ‘enjoying the project’, he quashed any talk of a Ferguson-like tenure.
Mourinho added: “Sir Alex Ferguson coached Manchester United for more than 20 years I believe. I am 59 years old right now, so plus 20 years would be 79 – probably a bit too much! It would be difficult. Maybe until I’m 70.
“But I understand your question. I like it here very much. You can see it, you can feel it. I accepted a project whose profile was different to my previous ones, it was a three-year project. We will see afterwards. I will stay here for three years, I’m not even thinking about leaving earlier.
“But sometimes, with time, projects get closer to what you think and sometimes they get further away, but football is today. So now I’m here, next season I will be here, and then we’ll see what happens. This is the most honest way I have to reply to your question.”