Mour­inho ex­pects foe Wenger to find new job

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - FRONT PAGE - PAUL WIL­SON

JOSE MOUR­INHO be­lieves Arsene Wenger’s ca­reer will not be over when he leaves Arse­nal this sum­mer. And the Manch­ester United man­ager has also thanked Wenger for mak­ing him a bet­ter man­ager and ad­mit­ted he, too, would like to still be in charge of a foot­ball club at the age of 68.

The two men have had their dif­fer­ences in the past, and Mour­inho says he re­grets some of the things said when their Lon­don rivalry was at its most in­tense, though he be­lieves Manch­ester United fans will be fair-minded enough to give Wenger a favourable re­cep­tion this af­ter­noon when he brings his Arse­nal team to Old Traf­ford for the last time. “I don’t think Arsène is go­ing to end his coach­ing ca­reer,” Mour­inho said. “As far as I know he is only fin­ish­ing at Arse­nal.

“I am sure Manch­ester United fans will re­mem­ber all the years when Arse­nal were their big­gest ri­vals, and I am go­ing to re­mem­ber Arsène as a big op­po­nent, the man­ager of the In­vin­ci­bles. That was my first year in this coun­try. When I ar­rived in 2004 Arse­nal had just won the ti­tle with­out be­ing beaten. I would say the In­vin­ci­bles made me a bet­ter coach and that is the way I will re­mem­ber Arsène, although I should say he is not yet dead. I doubt if he is fin­ished with foot­ball.”

Mour­inho can­not see him­self stay­ing 22 years at the same club — “You would not al­low it, me­dia, so­cial me­dia, the pun­dit in­dus­try, I think it is too much pres­sure, not just for the man­ager but also for the club” — though he does not rule out car­ry­ing on un­til he is Wenger’s age or even older.

“For sure, why not?” he asked. “This is a job where the more ex­pe­ri­ence you have the bet­ter you are, you just have to keep up your mo­ti­va­tional level. I be­lieve that un­til a man­ager de­cides he has had enough and doesn’t want any more you can still get bet­ter and bet­ter. Just look at the ex­am­ple of Mr Heynckes [Jupp, the 72-year-old coach of Bay­ern Mu­nich]. He was re­tired, play­ing with his grand­chil­dren or things like that, and sud­denly he comes back to foot­ball and he is even bet­ter than what he was be­fore. I think you can keep im­prov­ing in this job, as long as you have some suc­cess.

“Some­times peo­ple say enough is enough, but un­til that point ar­rives I think this is the kind of job where ex­pe­ri­ence makes you bet­ter.”

The 55-year-old has changed his tune somewhat since his early years at Chelsea, when he was fond of telling peo­ple he would be re­lax­ing on the Al­garve in 20 years, but be­lieves he is bet­ter at the job than he used to be.

“Bet­ter in ev­ery way,” he said. “At ev­ery level now, train­ing, matches, re­la­tions with play­ers, ev­ery­thing feels like déjà vu. I have had ev­ery­thing hap­pen be­fore, noth­ing sur­prises me or makes me won­der how to re­act.

“I don’t know how long I will be at United but I don’t want to be any­where else. To be hon­est, at all my other clubs I had the feel­ing of al­ready think­ing about what to do next. I had things to do. I had to go to Italy, for sure. I had to go to Spain, for sure. They were things I re­ally wanted to do but at the mo­ment there isn’t any­thing I have wait­ing around the cor­ner. I don’t want to do any­thing dif­fer­ent from what I am do­ing now.”

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