MOUR­INHO SNUBS ME­DIA

United man­ager makes swift exit from press con­fer­ence

New Straits Times - - Sport -

MANCH­ESTER

JOSE Mour­inho re­fused to talk to the me­dia, in­clud­ing his club’s own in­house tele­vi­sion sta­tion, af­ter Manch­ester United ended the Premier League cam­paign with a 2-0 win over Crys­tal Palace.

United man­ager Mour­inho had be­come in­creas­ingly an­gered with sec­tions of the me­dia in re­cent weeks at cov­er­age of his team’s cam­paign.

With to­mor­row’s Europa League Fi­nal to come, against Ajax in Stock­holm, Mour­inho could still end his first sea­son at Old Traf­ford with two ma­jor pieces of sil­ver­ware af­ter col­lect­ing the League Cup.

But United’s strug­gles in the league, and some te­dious games par­tic­u­larly at Old Traf­ford, have seen a grow­ing mood of dis­quiet, cer­tainly among sec­tions of the writ­ten and broad­cast press.

Fol­low­ing the Palace win, United play­ers per­formed a lap of ap­pre­ci­a­tion for sup­port­ers with club cap­tain Wayne Rooney hav­ing played what could prove to be his last game for the club, picked out for a spe­cial ova­tion by Old Traf­ford fans.

But while the cel­e­bra­tions were on-go­ing, Mour­inho made his way to a va­ri­ety of press con­fer­ences for tele­vi­sion, print and ra­dio me­dia, stay­ing a mat­ter of sec­onds in each case be­fore leav­ing due to the ab­sence of jour­nal­ists.

Even MUTV, the most friendly of broad­cast­ers in deal­ing with the club, was not im­mune from Mour­inho’s pol­icy as he snapped: “I’m in a fi­nal, let me go home, I’m in a fi­nal.”

Mour­inho was re­ported to have left Old Traf­ford within 20 min­utes of the fi­nal whis­tle.

An in­sight into Mour­inho’s mind­set could be gleaned from his pro­gramme notes be­fore the game when he re­sponded to former Liver­pool man­ager and cur­rent critic Graeme Souness who had ques­tioned why the United man­ager has fre­quently used the ex­cuse of fa­tigue for their late sea­son prob­lems.

“I have seen in the foot­ball me­dia that cer­tain pun­dits can­not un­der­stand why our play­ers are tired,” wrote Mour­inho.

“A pun­dit is not hon­est if they can­not for­get their colours or if they try to hide the truth from their au­di­ence.

“It’s not my fault if their man­age­rial ca­reer was very poor.”

Those crit­ics will doubt­less in­ter­pret Mour­inho’s be­hav­iour as a sign that the ex­pe­ri­enced man­ager is feel­ing the pres­sure ahead of to­mor­row’s fi­nal where vic­tory will guar­an­tee United’s Cham­pi­ons League foot­ball next sea­son.

But it also had the ef­fect of de­tract­ing from the out­stand­ing per­for­mances of a num­ber of his young­sters, with four home play­ers handed their full league de­buts and Mour­inho field­ing the youngest United line-up in Premier League his­tory, at an aver­age of un­der 23 years of age.

One of those debu­tants, Josh Har­rop, opened the scor­ing be­fore Paul Pogba added a sec­ond and was re­placed, along with Jesse Lin­gard, just be­fore the in­ter­val to rest ahead of the fi­nal.

Later, with Rooney sub­sti­tuted to re­ceive a stand­ing ova­tion, An­gel Gomes, was brought on in the 87th minute and, at 16 years, 262 days, be­came the club’s young­ster player for 61 years, since David Gaskell in 1956.

It was a game that Har­rop, in par­tic­u­lar, will never for­get thanks to his de­but goal which fol­lowed a hat-trick he scored for United’s Un­der-23s in a vic­tory against Tot­ten­ham at Old Traf­ford last Mon­day.

“He scored a hat-trick last Mon­day, he had two sim­i­lar goals in that, and you could see his con­fi­dence from that game,” said young team­mate Demitri Mitchell.

“Even the game be­fore he scored, against Arse­nal, and I think that’s how he came up with that fin­ish.

“Be­fore­hand, Paul Pogba, Car­rick, Phil Jones next to me, were help­ing a lot. They give you con­fi­dence and helped me a lot in the game.

“Es­pe­cially af­ter the game, I was think­ing ‘this is what it’s all about, it’s what dreams are made of.”

Crys­tal Palace’s dif­fi­cult sea­son ended in de­feat but at least safety had al­ready been guar­an­teed for next sea­son.

“Beat­ing Chelsea, Arse­nal and Liver­pool was a great thrill and with­out those vic­to­ries we’d be rel­e­gated, down and out,” said man­ager Sam Al­lardyce. AFP

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