Press conference analysis: Jose Mourinho talks title challenges, Pogba's debut and Eddie Howe
He’s back at last. There are few men who provide more entertaining press conferences than Jose Mourinho and fans and press alike gathered round to here Jose Mourinho’s first pre-match Premier League conference today. The Portuguese boss will see his side take on Bournemouth this weekend as they look to kick off their campaign with a win, and following big spending this summer, that would be expected against one of the division’s smaller sides.
Mourinho was, as expected, asked about transfers with Paul Pogba and Adnan Januzaj the key questions, but also about whether or not the Red Devils have it in them to mount a challenge for the title after failing to even make the top four last season.
The former Chelsea boss made it very clear that his side would be competing for the crown, but that they won’t be alone in doing so:
“We feel that we are a candidate to win the title, we know there are more than three who have similar ambitions, if we aren’t champions because someone else is better than us then great, that is football.”
He does not shy away from the expectations of Old Trafford and said that they would be going all out for the title. He even squeezed in a little dig at his rivals as early as possible:
“Many teams think they can win it but they are afraid to say it, they prefer to play a defensive game in the press. Man United has to say on day one that we want to win the title.”
One man who will be key to their chances will be Frenchman Paul Pogba, though he will miss out owing to a suspension for accumulative yellow cards picked up in Italy which will still apply in the Premier League. Mourinho admitted to not being aware:
“I found out two days ago, I knew the situation with the yellow cards but I didn’t know if an accumulation would bring a suspension.”
However, the gaffer insisted that Pogba would be ready for a much anticipated debut at Old Trafford against Southampton on Tuesday:
“By Tuesday he will be ready to play against Southampton.”
Another man on the move is Adnan Januzaj, set to join Sunderland on loan, but Mourinho insists that the youngster still has a role to play for the club in the future, including a sly criticism of Louis Van Gaal’s treatment of the Belgian:
“He fits in my plans, that’s why he is on loan in the Premier League, if he doesn’t fit then we don’t care we send him to Dortmund. We think he is a talented player but to be in the same squad as our players would mean not many matches. We cannot be selfish, we have to think about the players and he is in the right place with a manager that likes him. We want him back.”
In the near future, United face Bournemouth this weekend in a tough challenge. Mourinho is an admirer of what Eddie Howe has achieved at the club, taking them from League 2 to Premier League:
“They are a good stable team, for sure it will be a difficult match for us. Stability, same players, same manager year after year, they didn’t change their style.”
How Mourinho will counter that Bournemouth style will be seen on Sunday. With high expectations it’s clear that the Portuguese head coach will have to not just talk the talk, but also walk the walk.
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