Mour­inho care­ful to keep United on edge by whip­ping up a storm

Man­ager faces ques­tions over his state of mind on his re­turn to Chelsea, writes Stu­art Mathieson

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Sport | Football -

at press con­fer­ences since be­ing ap­pointed in the sum­mer of last year.

The Manch­ester press pack were promised an en­gag­ing personality by their Lon­don col­leagues, who had of­ten been en­ter­tained in their weekly sit-downs with Mour­inho. Save for one or two asides, it has rarely been so con­ge­nial this sea­son. No­body ex­pected a stand-up co­me­dian but Mour­inho’s con­fer­ences have largely been sub­dued.

He re­laxed a touch in the sec­ond half of last sea­son as vic­to­ries in the EFL Cup and Europa League made it a suc­cess­ful cam­paign for United. But he has sunk back into pout­ing mode this sea­son de­spite a start in which his side’s free-scor­ing form re­called the hal­cyon days of the Fer­gu­son era, with An­thony Mar­tial, Chris Smalling and An­der Her­rera, have been rep­ri­manded in public.

Of late, that has led to sug­ges­tions that Mour­inho is head­ing to­wards an abrupt melt­down at Old Traf­ford, with some cit­ing a track record in which he has not stayed as man­ager at any club for more than three years.

Mour­inho in­sisted his mo­rose man­ner does not ev­i­dence any great drama. Asked if he is frus­trated, he replied, “No. Just a dif­fi­cult week. Big matches, in­juries, tired … just nor­mal.”

There is con­cern among fans that he has sud­denly be­come un­set­tled at Old Traf­ford. So, is he happy at the club? “Yes. I love my play­ers. You try to cre­ate a his­tory [story] be­cause of my words af­ter Hud­der­s­field but there is no his­tory about it. I don’t know where you get this kind of sto­ries, but yes I am happy.”

Juan Mata was with Mour­inho at Stam­ford Bridge be­fore the coach dis­carded the two-time Chelsea player of the year, sell­ing him to United in Jan­uary 2014.

The Spa­niard knows Mour­inho’s meth­ods in­ti­mately and has been the vic­tim of some of his more con­tro­ver­sial ways, but the mid­fielder in­sists his out­burst af­ter the Hud­der­s­field game - United’s only de­feat this sea­son - is noth­ing to get un­duly con­cerned about.

“I have seen it a few times when he has been very an­gry,” Mata said. “It was one of those days. He just hates to lose and ev­ery time his team does lose, he gets an­gry – that’s nor­mal.”

This is what you get with Jose Mour­inho. Tur­bu­lence and tran­quil­ity in equal mea­sure. It is the price you pay for a CV that boasts 25 tro­phies.

As the United man­ager re­turns to the club with whom he won eight of those pieces of sil­ver­ware, he says he is just one more from earn­ing his due recog­ni­tion.

“I think that prob­a­bly 25 tro­phies is the line that peo­ple made about a suc­cess­ful man­ager,” he said. “I have 25 but I still need one more. So maybe when I win one more tro­phy I have a lit­tle bit of credit, but that’s not a prob­lem.”

Whether that land­mark will be reached with Manch­ester United re­mains to be seen.

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