Mour­inho takes swipe at board by say­ing United should be run like Juve

Man­ager points to Ital­ians’ am­bi­tious ma­jor sign­ings Mis­fir­ing Lukaku may not start against Ever­ton to­day

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Premier League - By Mike Whal­ley and Ja­son Burt

Jose Mour­inho has taken an­other swipe at Manch­ester United’s se­nior ex­ec­u­tives by sug­gest­ing that the club should op­er­ate more like Ju­ven­tus.

It has been an­other trou­bling week for United, who were out­classed by the Ital­ian cham­pi­ons in Tues­day’s Cham­pi­ons League group match at Old Traf­ford, put­ting their hopes of qual­i­fy­ing from the group in jeop­ardy.

Af­ter that match, which con­tin­ued United’s aw­ful start to the sea­son in front of their own fans, Paul Pogba sug­gested he was still be­ing gagged by United af­ter his bust-up with Mour­inho. The mid­fielder re­fused to speak about the 1-0 de­feat by Ju­ven­tus, telling re­porters: “I can’t talk. I am not al­lowed to talk. It’s not me. I want to but I’ve been told not to talk.”

Pogba de­liv­ered a sim­i­lar re­ply af­ter the loss away to West Ham United last month when he said to jour­nal­ists try­ing to speak to him: “You want me dead?” The French­man had pre­vi­ously crit­i­cised United’s tac­tics af­ter a home draw against Wolves, and had also ques­tioned his fu­ture at the club af­ter the open­ing game of the sea­son at home to Le­ices­ter City.

Mour­inho’s re­la­tions with the United hi­er­ar­chy are scarcely bet­ter, and he im­plied as much by point­ing out that the suc­cess Ju­ven­tus have en­joyed at home and in Europe had been fu­elled by their sum­mer sign­ings of Cris­tiano Ron­aldo, de­fend­ers Leonardo Bonucci and Joao Cancelo, and mid­fielder Emre Can. United’s man­ager has made clear his frus­tra­tion at not be­ing al­lowed to make the de­fen­sive sign­ings he wanted be­fore this sea­son be­gan, with se­nior club fig­ures un­der­stood to have ve­toed a move for Le­ices­ter City’s Harry Maguire. This sea­son Mour­inho has chopped and changed, with none of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Eric Bailly and Vic­tor Lin­de­lof guar­an­teed a place.

And Mour­inho has made clear his be­lief that United, who host Ever­ton to­day, should be strength­en­ing their squad as they at­tempt to im­prove on a start to the sea­son that has left them in mid-ta­ble, point­ing out the con­trast be­tween his club and how the Ital­ian cham­pi­ons go about their busi­ness.

He said: “It’s quite cu­ri­ous, be­cause in the tun­nel, be­fore the game, I was speak­ing with [Ju­ven­tus owner An­drea] Agnelli, and I was telling him, ‘Since I left In­ter [Mi­lan in 2010], you have seven in a row. And it looks like the eighth is com­ing’. And he told me, ‘I don’t want the eighth. I want 10 in a row’. I think that’s a fan­tas­tic an­swer and a fan­tas­tic state­ment. So they won seven in a row, but they bought Cris­tiano and Bonucci and Can and Cancelo, so they al­ways want more and more and more.

“I think the ob­jec­tive of the club is hap­pi­ness re­lated to foot­ball re­sults. They are go­ing to chase that tre­ble. If it is not this year, they are go­ing to chase it next year. If it is not next year, they are go­ing to chase it in the other years.”

Mour­inho, ex­plain­ing why United have strug­gled to keep pace with their do­mes­tic ri­vals, re­ferred to his pre-sea­son com­ments about a lack of sum­mer trans­fer ac­tiv­ity, with Fred, Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant the only three play­ers brought in.

“My be­lief is that you did not take me se­ri­ously when I said that the sec­ond po­si­tion last sea­son was a phe­nom­e­nal po­si­tion for us and that this sea­son was go­ing to be dif­fi­cult. In foot­ball now, ev­ery team is get­ting re­ally pow­er­ful and is ready to in­vest mil­lions.”

There are ques­tions over whether Mour­inho is get­ting the best out of the play­ers at his dis­posal, with Romelu Lukaku un­der par­tic­u­lar scru­tiny. The £75mil­lion striker is not cer­tain to be picked to face his for­mer club, af­ter ex­tend­ing his goal­less run to eight games, and it seems a long time since he was re­ferred to as “un­touch­able” hav­ing scored 11 goals in his first 10 ap­pear­ances this time last year. Mour­inho, though, is keep­ing the faith for now.

“I al­ways feel the next game is the game,” said Mour­inho of Lukaku. “One day he will score and his con­fi­dence will be back to nor­mal.”

Manch­ester United v Ever­ton, 4pm. Live on Sky Sports

Hurt­ing: Jose Mour­inho has overseen a dra­matic slump in United’s home form

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