Mourinho takes swipe at United's detractors

10Aug 2018
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Mourinho takes swipe at United's detractors

JOSE Mourinho has taken a swipe at Manchester United’s detractors a day ahead of his side’s Premier League opener at home to Leicester City.

JOSE Mourinho

United’s boss, about to begin his third season at the helm at Old Trafford, has cut a disgruntled figure during the summer, apparently unhappy with the club’s transfer window activity.

Mourinho sounded pessimistic that he would make any last-minute signings when talking to media on Thursday.

“I’m not confident, I’m not confident and the market closes today, so is time at least for me to stop thinking about the market because the market will be closed,” Mourinho said.

“I will have to focus on the players I have and in relation to this first couple of matches.”

But he was quick to point out his United side were closest to runaway leaders Manchester City last season, even if they finished 19 points adrift.

“My view is that, first of all, is difficult for me to believe we finished second,” he said.

“When I listen, when I read, not much but sometimes I do, is difficult to believe that we finished second, because you are capable of making people that finish second look like they were relegated, and people who win nothing, finish below us, and you make them look like serial winners.

“Is difficult for me to understand, to feel, to believe we finish second. I won eight championships and three Premier Leagues but I keep feeling the second last season was one of my biggest achievements in the game.”

Mourinho, who will be without the likes of Nemanja Matic, Antonio Valencia, Ander Herrera and Marcos Rojo on Friday, once again bemoaned the lack of preparation time for the start of the season, with many of his players having just returned to training after taking time off following the World Cup.

“The target is Leicester match and the tactics to be changed in Championship Manager you can just press a button,” he said.

“In football you need time to work and players on the pitch to work and we didn’t have until now.

“I told that during pre-season it looked like I was saying something absolutely out of order, something crazy, I repeat and maybe tomorrow the reaction is the same: Pre-season difficult when you don’t have your players to work, as simple as that.”

Meanwhile, Leicester City manager Claude Puel had warned Manchester United that a deadline day transfer for central defender Harry Maguire was impossible, and praised the England international’s attitude amid the speculation over his future.

The 25-year-old will be in Leicester’s squad for today’s Premier League opener at Old Trafford and Puel said joking: “I can confirm he is going to Manchester but only for a couple of hours.

“I am happy to keep Harry. He is our best player. I am a football manager and I want to keep our best players for the squad and for our season.

“Harry is happy to remain with us. And I am happy with his attitude. He came back with (Leicester and England team mate) Jamie (Vardy) with a smile, with freshness.”

Leicester have already lost influential winger Riyad Mahrez to Manchester City in the current transfer window, and Puel wants to keep the rest of his core group of players at the club.

“For us it (a Maguire transfer) is not possible. It is not serious. We have to prepare for this season with good possibilities,” he added.

“We want to keep good ambition. We lost Riyad Mahrez, who was a very valuable player for us, so it was important to keep our best players and have good additions to the squad.”

REUTERS  

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