Jose Mourinho spoke exclusively to Helen Evans at the Aon Training Complex. Manchester United’s boss talked about Maroune Fellaini’s contract situation. The Belgian midfielder’s contract expires in June, and he is yet to agree to a new United’s offer; and Turkish giants, Besiktas are reportedly monitoring the situation.
He also spoke about United’s fixtures, the busy week ahead, injuries and much more.
Here are what Mourinho said:
AFRAID OF LOOSING FELLAINI FOR FREE?
WHAT COULD BE DONE TO STOP HIM FROM LEAVING
“Nothing It’s a discussion between the player and the board.
“I’m not involved in contracts, deals. I respect both, I respect the player because he has the right to decide his future if he finishes his contract.
“And I respect the board, because the decisions and discussions are under their control, so I just wait, wishing they will have a understanding.”
ON TOP OF THE TABLE MANCHESTER CITY
“We cannot think about the gap to City, the gap to fifth position, we have to focus on ourselves and our matches,”
ON THE BUSY WEEK AHEAD
“I think this is probably the first time this season with three Premier League matches in one week, with a couple of days in between European matches, but I think everything is prepared for that.
“Even when I look to teams with other ambitions, I see fantastic squads, so I think the teams are going to cope with the week.
ON SATURDAY’S GAME AGAINST BRIGHTON
“For us, Brighton, Watford and Arsenal are very important games, but let’s focus on Brighton – ninth in the table, a good team, difficult to beat, don’t concede many goals, a mixture of physicality, aggression, also quality and creativity.
“I know we have a good record at home and are strong there, but we know the opponent is going to be difficult for us.”
WILL ZLATAN PLAY ON SATURDAY?
“I prefer him on the pitch than off the pitch.
On the pitch, he’s another option for us and he’s an option of quality. His physicality and his intelligence, the way he moves, the way he plays.”
“But he needs time. We managed to give him 15/20 minutes in both matches, he needs more of that, so hopefully, tomorrow, we play him again.”
WHAT OF POGBA
“Paul is still on this process where he cannot reach the fatigue limit,”
“He cannot go more than 65 to 70 minutes because that’s when fatigue normally arrives and, with so many matches consecutively, we need to protect such an important player for us.”
“He was training with the team longer than Paul and Zlatan.”
“But in a period when we had every central defender ready to play so we protected him. We gave him a better condition and, when we put him in the Champions League match, he was really ready.
“So 90 minutes, no problem, no reaction from the knee, confidence in his game, a good, solid performance. It’s very good to have him back.”
ON INJURED JONES AND BAILLY
“They are out, but we are okay because we have [Chris] Smalling, [Marcos] Rojo and [Victor] Lindelof.”
ON PANICKY FANS
“Fans are fans and pros are pros and fans are more emotional.”
“They think and feel things in a different way and I always say to myself we must have emotional balance when we are doing well, when we are doing bad – always an emotional balance after a big victory or big defeat.
“We haven’t reached 50 per cent of the season yet so let’s be calm. We have four competitions to play and let’s go step by step, match after match.
“After the Champions League game against Basel, we move to the Premier League.’
UNITED DOES NOT LACK AMBITION
“To have more ambition than we have at home I think is quite different.”
“I don’t know who is more ambitious than us. We played against Newcastle with Pogba, Rashford, Martial, Mata and Lukaku.
“The full-backs are not full-backs, Valencia and Young are wingers, not full-backs. So I don’t know what you want.”