Bullish Mour­inho tells United fans he’ll ban­ish last three years of woe

The Herald - Herald Sport - - INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY - STEVE NAILOR

Jose Mour­inho has told ev­ery­one as­so­ci­ated with Manch­ester United to for­get the three-year pe­riod un­der David Moyes and Louis van Gaal as he looks to repli­cate the tri­umphant his­tory that made the club a “gi­ant”.

Months of spec­u­la­tion came to a head this week as Van Gaal’s two-year reign was brought to an end, days af­ter win­ning the FA Cup.

Wem­b­ley glory was un­able to mask poor Premier League per­for­mances in terms of style and sub­stance, with United quickly fol­low­ing up their long-re­ported in­ter­est in the Por­tuguese.

Talks started on Tues­day but it took un­til Fri­day for the terms of the con­tract to be ironed out and United to an­nounce the for­mer Chelsea man­ager on a three-year deal, with an op­tion to stay at the club un­til at least 2020.

“I feel great,” Mour­inho told the club’s in-house tele­vi­sion sta­tion MUTV.

“Well, I think I am in the right mo­ment in my ca­reer be­cause Man United is one of these clubs where you need re­ally to be pre­pared for it be­cause it is what I used to call a gi­ant club.

“And gi­ant clubs must be for the best man­agers and I think I am ready for it, so I could say I am happy, I am proud, I am hon­oured, I am every­thing.”

Mour­inho’s ex­cite­ment to be tak­ing over a club with a “mys­tique and a ro­mance” is clear, as is his de­sire to re­vive United’s ail­ing for­tunes.

Turgid, pro­saic foot­ball led to the club’s worst scor­ing re­turn in the league for 26 years and led to Van Gaal’s side miss­ing out on Cham­pi­ons League qual­i­fi­ca­tion to neigh­bours Manch­ester City on goal dif­fer­ence.

United have failed to make Euro­pean foot­ball’s top ta­ble in two of the three sea­sons since Sir Alex Fer­gu­son re­tired – a pe­riod of dis­sat­is­fac­tion Mour­inho wants to for­get.

“I think we can look at our club now in two per­spec­tives,” he said. “One per­spec­tive is the past three years and an­other per­spec­tive is the club his­tory.

“I think I pre­fer to for­get the past three years, I pre­fer to fo­cus on the gi­ant club I have in my hands now. I think what the fans are ex­pect­ing me to say is that I want to win.

“So, yes, I want to fo­cus on the his­tory of this gi­ant club and give what I have and what I don’t have, so I will give ab­so­lutely every­thing to try and go in the di­rec­tion we all want.”

Mour­inho’s use of the col­lec­tive “we” and talk of win­ning is quite the change to Van Gaal, the man he once as­sisted at Barcelona.

“You know, I think I know what they can give me,” Mour­inho said of United’s fan­base. “I think also they know what I can give them.

“Ob­vi­ously the most im­por­tant thing are the play­ers and the re­la­tion­ship of the play­ers is the bridge with them, but I think it is very im­por­tant and cu­ri­ous that I have played so many times against Man United and I played so many times at Old Traf­ford with other clubs.

“There was em­pa­thy, no prob­lems and, in fact, I was pushed by that feel­ing to say some­times things that my clubs were not happy with.

“I re­mem­ber, for ex­am­ple, when I won at Old Traf­ford with Real Madrid, I said the best team lost. Not many peo­ple was happy at Real Madrid.”

Mour­inho’s re­la­tion­ship with his new club’s fans could be tested should Ryan Giggs’ near 29-year as­so­ci­a­tion with the club come to an end.

United’s most dec­o­rated player has an of­fer to stay on, al­though it is un­clear what that role would be hav­ing been as­sis­tant to Van Gaal for the past two years.

No con­fir­ma­tion on the fate of the rest of his pre­de­ces­sor’s back­room team has yet been forth­com­ing, but Mour­inho is ex­pected to bring in his own staff.

As for his first sign­ing, Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic is re­port­edly close to join­ing United af­ter his time at Paris St Ger­main came to an end. The Swe­den striker, 34, has a “great re­la­tion­ship” with Mour­inho af­ter they worked to­gether at In­ter Milan. When asked if he had an of­fer from United, he said with a smile “let’s see

what hap­pens”.

Pic­ture: PA

THE CHO­SEN ONE: Mour­inho poses with a United kit at his un­veil­ing

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