Mour­inho happy to be ‘home’ for Christ­mas

United boss fi­nally feel­ing set­tled as he puts dif­fi­cult start be­hind him

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in Manch­ester

Manch­ester United boss Jose Mour­inho said he is feel­ing “re­ally at home” at Old Traf­ford and that foun­da­tions are in place for suc­cess to re­turn to the club.

Mour­inho en­dured a dif­fi­cult start to life in Manch­ester af­ter re­plac­ing Louis van Gaal, but the Por­tuguese’s im­pact has be­gun to be felt in re­cent weeks.

United head into to­day’s match against Sunderland on the back of three con­sec­u­tive Premier League vic­to­ries and with the Cham­pi­ons League places within reach.

“What I can say is that in here I felt peo­ple with open arms. A very calm and in­tel­li­gent board and own­ers. They know what they want,” said Mour­inho.

“They have big ex­pe­ri­ence al­ready. They are very calm, very prag­matic, giv­ing me good con­di­tions to work and the play­ers and peo­ple that sur­round me.

“I felt (aware of ) some sad­ness be­cause peo­ple that love foot­ball, they want to be suc­cess­ful and ev­ery­body tries to help to go in the same di­rec­tion.

“For me it was easy to come. A dif­fi­cult job, but easy now to feel at home.

“Easy to feel good in the club, easy to feel that the club wants to progress, the peo­ple want to be happy again and I felt good im­me­di­ately.

“So five, six months here, but re­ally feel­ing at home. For me it was quite easy.

“Ob­vi­ously ex­pec­ta­tions are high, re­sults up and down, and we are in a po­si­tion that is not the po­si­tion where we want.

“But in terms of pas­sion for my work, pas­sion for my new club, feel­ing re­ally happy here, yes.

Mour­inho is again set to start with striker Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic against the Black Cats.

The 35-year-old took his United tally to 16 goals with a brace in last week­end’s 2-0 win at West Bromwich Al­bion.

He paid trib­ute to the en­durance of the for­mer Swe­den in­ter­na­tional and his abil­ity to cope with the rig­ors of the English game, de­spite his age.

Moyes re­turn

“I think 35 for him is the same as 25,” Mour­inho said.

“He scores goals, plays well, I’m re­ally happy for him be­cause he will end his ca­reer on a high, not in Amer­ica or China. He’s end­ing his ca­reer at the top.

“His record is good. He can im­prove. With no penal­ties, that is amaz­ing too. Nor­mally other guys that are top scor­ers have a lot of penal­ties.

“He had one penalty in 17 matches. I couldn’t be hap­pier with him.”

The United man­ager is still with­out Luke Shaw (groin in­jury), but other­wise has a full com­ple­ment of de­fend­ers to choose from, with Mar­cos Rojo, Da­ley Blind, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly avail­able.

Sunderland boss David Moyes re­turns to Old Traf­ford in charge of a team for the first time since he was sacked by United in April 2014.

Moyes lasted 10 months in the job af­ter suc­ceed­ing Alex Fer­gu­son, but has no re­grets about leav­ing Ever­ton for his ill-fated stint.

“My time there was too short, but as I have said many times, you have to win games and I didn’t win enough games,” said the Scot.

“I would do it again, 100 per­cent. Very few peo­ple are of­fered the job at Manch­ester United and I was hon­ored to be of­fered it.

“It was a great ex­pe­ri­ence and one I wouldn’t change be­cause of the qual­ity of the play­ers and pro­fes­sion­al­ism I found.”

For­mer United play­ers Don­ald Love and John O’Shea start for strug­gling Sunderland, which is in the rel­e­ga­tion zone.

How­ever, Ad­nan Januzaj is not el­i­gi­ble be­cause his on loan from United.

“I will feel that I’m go­ing into a dif­fi­cult game and for us to get a re­sult we will have to play re­ally well,” said Moyes.

AN­DREW YATES / REUTERS

Manch­ester United man­ager Jose Mour­inho re­fu­els dur­ing his team’s vic­tory against Tot­ten­ham ear­lier this month.

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