Jose Mourinho addressed the media on Friday afternoon ahead of Manchester United’s crunch Premier League clash with Arsenal on Sunday.
The Old Trafford boss spoke about a broad range of topics, including Liverpool star Mohamed Salah, Alexis Sanchez, Arsene Wenger and much more…
Here are the key points from his interview with
MUTV and pre-match press conference
A GREAT WEEK FOR US
“We have had a good week since Wembley. I think the players have had a better week than me, because they had more time off than me. That’s the nature of the manager’s job. It was good that the players could have this test [against Arsenal on Sunday] because after the last game [against Chelsea in the FA Cup final], many of them will go to their national teams. And some to the World Cup after that.”
WE ALL KNEW HOW GOOD ALEXIS WAS, THAT’S WE BOUGHT HIM IN JANUARY
“He was playing in our competition for years. We all know how good he was, that’s why he was chased by many teams. I believe that’s why we fought to have him here and I was, since day one, sure that he was the right player, not just by the typical football qualities but also by his mentality and we needed that. We needed a little bit more experience, we need a little bit more of mental aggressiveness, and I knew that sooner or later, it was coming. I keep saying I don’t like the January market, but it was now or never, so it was now and obviously if we can have good Alexis until the end of the season, better for us.
We need seven points, we have a final to play… can he help us the way he’s helping us lately? I hope so and I feel so, but what I am sure of is that next season, after pre-season, after being comfortable and adapted, he’s going to be great for us.”
WE CAN DO BETTER NEXT SEASON
“This season is better than last season. Last season we won the Europa League, this season if we play Europa League I think we would win it too, but we didn’t play Europa League, we played Champions League.
We were not good enough to win it and domestically we won last season the League Cup. This season we are in the final of the FA Cup.
We finished sixth, this season we are going to finish top four, I believe and I hope [we finish] second.
More points, more victories, more goals, less goals conceded, not consistently but many, many times better football, so I think there was a clear evolution in the team and hopefully next season we can do better.”
BIGGEST RIVALS ARE OUR BIGGEST FRIENDS
“I always feel that the biggest rivals are our biggest friends, because they are the ones that push us to the limit and I think Manchester United fans know that until 2004, for about a decade, it was between Manchester United and Arsenal, it was between Sir Alex [Ferguson] and Mr Wenger. I think these great teams Arsenal had, and the fight they had shoulder to shoulder with Manchester United, made Manchester United better and better, so I hope they have that feeling. I hope he has a good reaction [from fans], or if not good, at least not bad at all. From our club, I think he’s going to feeling the respect we have.”
SMALL REGRETS OVER RIVALRY WITH WENGER
“There were little things where it would obviously be better without them – some gestures, some words. I feel better now without it, no doubts about it, but again when I arrived in England in 2004, Arsenal was the champion and was the famous champion of The Invincibles. I arrive and for the next couple of years was with them – [Dennis] Bergkamp, Thierry [Henry] and [Sol] Campbell – an amazing team, so again, thank you very much for that. They pushed us to the limit, the two matches we played, not at the Emirates [Stadium], but at the amazing old stadium [Highbury], unforgettable.
We had big matches, big fights, so thank you, thank you so much for that. Regret, little negative episodes, yes I do and probably [Wenger] also does.”
FANTASTIC WIN OVER ARSENAL AT THE EMIRATES
“We had a great performance against Arsenal in December. We were very clinical and (at the other end), I think it was David’s [De Gea] best performance. The only negative was the red card for Paul (Pogba) because he had to miss three important games.”
WOULD DAVID DE GEA LEAVE IN THE SUMMER?
WHY ARSENAL ARE NOT IN THE TOP FOUR
“Arsenal are putting everything into the Europa League like we did last season. If they didn’t have that to play for, I think they would have more points and would be fighting for fourth place.”
SALAH DESERVED PFA PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD
“It’s easier for you to say negative things about me and not the positive things about me. Everybody knows that I bought Salah [at Chelsea] with Mr [Roman] Abramovich’s money.
We played against Basel in the Champions League in two matches, so he played against me. As you can imagine, before I play matches, especially European matches, I spend a lot of time analysing the opposition that I don’t know as well as I know the teams that play in my competition domestically. So I watch and I watch and I told the club to buy that fantastic young player, so you know that. After that you also know that he was not playing a lot and obviously that is my responsibility as a coach and we decided with him, that it was better for him to have a loan period to play, to grow up, to become stronger. We, internally again, decided with the board and the technical director that we thought that Italian football could be a good way for him to develop and he went to Fiorentina. After that I left Chelsea and after that I’m not responsible for the process, but just to end it, because I don’t feel comfortable in the press conference speaking about Mo, a Liverpool player. After that he came to Liverpool and credit to him, credit to Jurgen and credit to the team.
I have to say I am very, very happy for him and he knows that. That’s why we keep a good relationship, he’s a fantastic boy and he knows that I have great care for him and I’m really happy with the things that are happening to him. [He has had an] Absolutely, absolutely fantastic season. More than deserved, the player of the year and, who knows, if something more important is waiting for him.”