He was accused of crying, but José Mourinho responded with snorting laughter.
The Chelsea boss described as “imagination” claim he was in tears when David Moyes was given the Manchester United job instead of him, and said the author of the book in which the story appeared “should write for kids”.
Published in September 2013, El País journalist Diego Torres’s book Prepare to Lose: the Mourinho era stated United’s decision “provoked an earthquake” and that Mourinho felt badly let down by Alex Ferguson.
The Portuguese derided the claim when the question was put to him ahead of Sunday’s match against the champions, but there was a slight change in his account of when he knew Ferguson would retire.
Mourinho said in June the Scot confided in him “many months ago” he would be stepping down, but yesterday stated he “only knew a couple of weeks before the announcement”.
Mourinho again insisted he had already expressed desire to return to Chelsea, although nothing was signed at that point. The Portuguese also dismissed arguments Ferguson is partly to blame for United’s current issues, and stated his belief Moyes is the “right man” who will guide the club into the top four this season, but feels they will try to sell Wayne Rooney to a foreign club this summer — and not to Chelsea.
When the claims in Torres’s book were put to him, Mourinho immediately started laughing.
“I think the person who writes the book shouldn’t write books. He should be somewhere away from here . . . he should write books for kids, imagination.
“I only knew a couple of weeks before the announcement, because my friend was nice to me and trusted me completely. He told me something really important before the press. He said I was one of his best friends in football so he wanted me to know before I read about it. I was afraid because I was sure that, for me, never... but that someone might leak and The Boss might think it had come from me, so I was a bit under pressure.
“But just that. The same way he knew from me that I was coming back to Chelsea. Just things between friends. Nothing else.
“I was not committed to Chelsea, but I wanted to come and Chelsea had already expressed a desire for me to come back. I had that door, not open, but ajar.”
Mourinho added that there was never any need for Ferguson to explain why he was not chosen.
“No, no, no. There is no other story. I am where I want to be, and I want to go nowhere else. I want to be here. I have the job I want to have. I don’t want another job.”
The Portuguese dismissed arguments that Ferguson is partly at fault for United’s troubles.
“I think it’s his fault, the number of trophies United had in the last 20 years. That’s for sure. His fault. He knows he’s so big and how much he gave his United, he doesn’t care what people write or think or do.
“David is the right guy for the job. With the stability they are going to give him for sure, he will get results as the consequence of his quality and the consequence of the stability.
“If you ask my opinion, I keep thinking they will be [in the top four]. But if they don’t, every player knows it’s an occasional situation. It’s not a situation that will last forever. It’s not a situation where I go to United and, for two or three or four years, I don’t play Champions League football. It’s not the case . . . when a giant is sleeping, the giant is never sleeping. Be careful.”
Mourinho also fielded questions on United’s transfer failures, stating “they’d prefer to wait and bring in exactly what they want” — but expressed his belief they would attempt to sell Rooney abroad in the summer, with just a year on his contract remaining.
“Man United made it clear in the summer they don’t swap or sell to direct rivals. They were clear in the way they approached the Rooney situation... I think maybe this summer they will try to sell to a non-direct rival.”
Finally, in perhaps the most telling comment, Mourinho revealed he would approach August’s 0-0 draw at Old Trafford in a different manner were it played now.
“It’s not about them. It’s about us. It’s more about us. In this moment, I feel my team is living a good moment, playing with stability. The team is quite confident with the ball. Normally we are dominant and have possession of the game. It’s an evolution in a certain direction. If the game was at Old Trafford now, I’d go in a different way. But that was the first away game of the season, at Old Trafford and important not to lose. In the end, a point was not a bad point.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved
More in this section