Mour­inho stays Agent says United will not sack coach

Club sanc­tion pub­lic back­ing for man­ager Team face Ful­ham ly­ing 18 points be­hind lead­ers

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page - By Sam Wal­lace CHIEF FOOT­BALL WRITER

Jose Mour­inho has been granted his wish of a for­mal as­sur­ance from Manch­ester United that his job is safe, with the club giv­ing their bless­ing to a rare pub­lic state­ment from his all-pow­er­ful agent, Jorge Mendes, that there is no cur­rent prospect of a change at Old Traf­ford.

The United man­ager goes into to­day’s game at Ful­ham with just three points from his past four league games and the club eighth in the ta­ble, 18 points be­hind lead­ers Manch­ester City. Once again, he has ex­pe­ri­enced frus­tra­tions with gain­ing the pub­lic sup­port of his club, as was the case three years ago at Chelsea.

United have been re­luc­tant to make pub­lic pro­nounce­ments, with ex­ec­u­tive vice-chair­man Ed Wood­ward of the be­lief that pri­vate as­sur­ances are suf­fi­cient. The club are of the view that they do not have to re­spond to the cur­rent pes­simism around Mour­inho and his prospects at United and any pub­lic sup­port would be viewed as the tra­di­tional vote of con­fi­dence, which is so of­ten a pre­lude to a sack­ing.

Mour­inho sees things dif­fer­ently and has, in the past, in­sisted on state­ments in sup­port of his po­si­tion, in­clud­ing in his sec­ond spell at Chelsea when, af­ter de­feat by Southamp­ton on Oct 3 2015 – the club’s fourth de­feat in their open­ing eight league games – he was given the board’s pub­lic back­ing.

He was sacked 10 weeks later when the club lost to Le­ices­ter City, their ninth de­feat of the sea­son.

On this oc­ca­sion the state­ment was re­leased by Mendes, a rare move from one of the most pow­er­ful men in world foot­ball, who rarely gives in­ter­views about his clients or his bro­ker­ing of ma­jor trans­fer deals.

The rep­re­sen­ta­tive, via his man­age­ment com­pany Ges­ti­fute, which han­dles Cris­tiano Ron­aldo, David de Gea and Diego Costa, and who also has a key in­volve­ment at clubs in­clud­ing Wolver­hamp­ton Wan­der­ers and Atletico Madrid, is­sued the state­ment hav­ing spo­ken to Wood­ward first on the is­sue.

Mendes said: “There have been more ru­mours of Jose Mour­inho leav­ing Manch­ester United. It’s to­tally un­true. Jose is very happy at the club and the club is very happy with him. He has a long-term con­tract with Manch­ester United and is fully com­mit­ted to the club in build­ing a solid, win­ning pro­ject.”

In Jan­uary, Mour­inho signed a con­tract ex­ten­sion un­til 2020, al­though United’s for­tunes have taken a ma­jor dip since then. The visit of bot­tom-placed Ful­ham comes at a time when it is im­pos­si­ble to sec­ond-guess Mour­inho’s change­able team se­lec­tion and there are strong sug­ges­tions that he de­scribed Paul Pogba, the club’s most ex­pen­sive sign­ing, as “a virus” af­ter the draw with Southamp­ton last week­end.

Mour­inho is un­der­stood to have been most up­set at de­tailed re­ports in The Sun yesterday which said that Wood­ward was now con­vinced that Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino was the right man for the job and was pre­pared to pay heav­ily to re­cruit him from Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur. It was re­ported that Mour­inho’s sev­er­ance terms would be less oner­ous for United this sum­mer if the club did not qual­ify for the Cham­pi­ons League, al­though no par­ties are will­ing to con­firm.

Anger at what he per­ceives as the in­ert­ness of club hi­er­ar­chies have been a fea­ture of Mour­inho’s past two jobs, at Chelsea and United. As he strug­gled to re­verse the de­cline of his 2015 ti­tle-win­ning team at Chelsea, he asked for owner Ro­man Abramovich to ad­dress the squad, al­though that re­quest was never agreed to, un­til af­ter Mour­inho had left.

Raising a smile: Jose Mour­inho (above), Paul Pogba (left) and Romelu Lukaku pose with fans as part of a Dream Day run by the club’s foun­da­tion at the AON Train­ing Com­plex

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