Jose Mourinho has dismissed speculation about his future at Manchester United by restating his belief that he is “one of the greatest managers in the world”.
The 55-year-old, who introduced himself to English football in 2004 as “the special one”, told reporters yesterday that he would still be special even if he fails at United.
“I am the manager of the one of the greatest clubs in the world but I’m also one of the greatest managers in the world,” said Mourinho.
I repeat, I have won eight titles (as a manager). I’m the only manager to win in Italy, Spain, and England.
“Not small titles, proper titles, and my second (place finish with United) last season was one of my greatest achievements in football.”
The Portuguese boss was speaking four days after his worst home defeat as a manager, United’s 3-0 loss to Tottenham at Old Trafford — a result that leaves them in 13th place in the Premier League, six points behind Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea, and Watford, and four points behind last season’s champions Manchester City.
Mourinho, however, repeated the sentiments he expressed on Monday night — that his side played well against the Londoners and the mood in the camp is high.
I was really humbled by the response from the fans and the team really felt that support, too,” he said.
“And because of that, this was not a difficult week at all, we feel we deserved more than we got.”
Mourinho also made it clear he has lost no confidence in his own ability.
“Do you read philosophy? Just to give Hegel as an example: The truth is in the whole,” he said.
This reference to the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was part of his answer about his overall record: Championships at Porto, Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid.
He also reminded the room of United’s 2017 Europa League victory in his first season at the club and again claimed that finishing 19 points behind City was “fantastic”, particularly compared to those managers who finished behind him — men he believes are given an easier ride by the media.
In regards to tomorrow’s game at Burnley, Mourinho said only that it was another “difficult game”.
He was at Burnley’s Europa League defeat to Olympiakos on Thursday and said the Clarets were unlucky not to win, given the number of chances they produced.
He admitted that he did not learn much else, though, as Burnley boss Sean Dyche rested several first-team players with an eye to kick-starting a Premier League campaign that has only brought them one point from three games so far.
Mourinho also had little to add on United’s contract talks with France forward Anthony Martial, saying only “nothing is official yet”.
There were slightly warmer words for Luke Shaw, though, whose return to the England set-up he put down to the left-back’s development into a “proper footballer, by which I mean a player of consistency”.
Meanwhile, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says he has never doubted Mourinho’s quality as a manager and insists United “remain a great team”.
Guardiola said of Mourinho: “The history, and the way Jose did in all the places he was — it’s hats off.
There’s no doubts about his quality. I never have in the past, and never now.
Guardiola added: “Our position is results. But every manager, what he believes, what he likes, tries to get results in his own style.
“We are judged for the results we get.
“Only the players know exactly how you are as a manager because they know you and see you every day. They have more information than the rest of the world — the fans, the media, everybody.”
When Guardiola was asked if he was surprised about the amount of pressure Mourinho had come under so early in the season, he said: “(It’s) our job unfortunately.
“It’s happened to me in the past. All the managers — our job depends on results. When we win we are good, when we don’t win we are not good, it is simple like that.”
Guardiola was also asked if he was surprised about United’s position in the table, and said: “(They) remain a great team, a top team.
We’re just in August. It’s just August, so a lot of points to play (for), and after the international break starts the real season.
Burnley boss Sean Dyche has no shortage of respect for Mourinho.
Dyche said: “My respect for people like Jose is because I am a young manager, learning the game, and these people have done enormous amounts in the game, for the game.
“People forget that. In this job you get questioned for what is happening now – people soon forget your history and what you’ve done.”