Manchester United’s boss – Jose Mourinho addressed the media on Friday afternoon ahead of his side’s Premier League clash with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Monday night.
Here are some talking points from his press conference below.
HOW THE SNOW HAS AFFECTED PREPARATIONS
“Yesterday, [we trained] indoor and today, outside but [it has been] difficult. We tried, we worked. The atmosphere is positive and we can’t complain because it’s over. So, for the rest of the day, they [the players] can be at home.”
SCOTLAND OR ENGLAND FOR MCTOMINAY?
“My advice to him is not about national teams – it’s not about that. My advice to him is to keep the way he is – very humble, very open to learn, intelligent and keep going in the same direction and the same profile, trying to fight to have minutes with Manchester United which is not easy. Then the national team will just be a consequence of his work at the club. But I can’t confirm at all that both national teams [England and Scotland] have contacted him because I don’t know.”
SCOTT IS STAYING GROUNDED
“I think the people around him are the right people. I have never met them but I have to believe that the kid with his attitude towards the others and towards football, the parents must be really good people that pass to him the right values. The kid is keeping his feet on the ground and is very calm. I think he passed some important tests – not from the football point of view but more from the mental point of view, with his maturity, calm, playing against the champions and knockout football in the Champions League. Two tests by the mental approach. So, I think there is a long way to go, obviously, but his feet are very much on the ground, very stable and I just hope he can keep the same direction.”
WE WILL FIGHT FOR THE BEST POSSIBLE FINISH
“First of all, the gap is a very short gap – six points between the second and the fifth teams is really short and really open for everybody. But all four are in the Champions League still, so we have other focuses and targets all of us. I have to say all of us are very good teams – in spite of some times the way I read, it looks like all the others are better than us. But I’m not so sure that is the reality. I would say four very good teams and one will be out of the Champions League. If you ask me second or fourth, I say by the financial point of view it doesn’t make a difference, by the prestige point of view, it doesn’t make a difference – you go to the Champions League and even the fourth team doesn’t have to even play a last qualification match. But, from the personal point of view, second is better than third and third is better than fourth. So, we are going to try the best possible finish. Of course, the top four is very difficult and, at the moment, that’s the main target for us. But, if you can finish third, we are not going to finish fourth. If you can finish second, we are not going to finish third.”
ON MAROUNE FELLAINI’S INJURY
“He’s still a young player, his injury had a little surgery, but a minor surgery, and he will be back to play again in a couple of weeks,” the manager told reporters, before estimating when the player could potentially return to the pitch. “If we proceed in the Champions League beyond Sevilla, I think he will be ready for a hypothetical quarter-final. He will be ready for a hypothetical FA Cup semi-final. He will be ready for the last couple of months of our Premier League fight.
ON FELLAINI’S CONTRACT SITUATION
“Is he going to stay or leave? I don’t know. I don’t know. I want him to stay, the club wants him to stay. The process, the negotiations, the numbers, the distances between the offer and what he wants – I really don’t know how things are going.”
ON ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC
“For Zlatan, we all think it’s his last season at Manchester United and it will be a very personal decision for him to play or to stop”.
“I think he won the right of choosing his life and his future – he’s such an amazing player with such an amazing career that only that awful injury in the wrong moment broke a fantastic couple of seasons that he could, and should, have with us.
“This season has been really difficult for him. Is he injured? No, he’s not injured. Does he feel totally happy and totally ready and totally convinced that he’s in [the] conditions to help the team in this moment? No.
“But he’s such an honest guy and such a champion that he only wants to be back with that feeling of ‘I’m totally ready for it’. He’s working hard and, hopefully, his evolution brings him to that level that he wants to have a positive answer.”