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
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
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