Mourinho expects foe Wenger to find new job
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.”