Shanghai, July 22 (IANS) Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho said that he always had a good feeling and some connection with the English Premier League club.
“I always had that good feeling about United, for sure, and I think the fans feel the same. I remember playing at Old Trafford and the way to the dugout was always nice. It was never like in other stadiums. There was always a connection,” Mourinho was quoted as saying by the Independent on Friday.
“Then can you end up being their manager one day or not? I always felt that what has to happen happens and it happened, so,” he told reporters here.
Mourinho’s first experience of United was a winning one — eliminating Alex Ferguson’s team from the Champions League with FC Porto on the way to European success in 2004 — even if it offered his only confrontation with the club, when Ferguson refused to shake his hand after a first-leg defeat at the Estadio do Dragao.
“That was him (Ferguson), not me. It was him, not me. The only thing I thought is that every club I was at, I was always playing against Man United — with Porto, Inter (Milan), Real Madrid, always, Champions League matches, big matches, then with Chelsea matches to decide the title, FA Cup finals, Community Shields,” the Portuguese said.
“I’ve played so many times against Man United and what I felt was – and you know this is not easy for me – so many matches and no problems. It’s very difficult to play against a club so many times and I have no problems. No problems,” the former Chelsea manager added.
Having inherited a team from Louis van Gaal which, despite winning the FA Cup last season, finished outside the top four for the second time in three years, the negativity which Mourinho claims to have avoided during his association with United is there to be banished by the Portuguese in a football sense.
“As we know, not every player is here working yet – quite a few – but I was impressed. Not surprised, because I think at this level, players are professional, they want to work,” he said.
“But I was impressed with the way they were working. Even here, we have had two training sessions where it’s very easy not to work well, it’s very easy to be affected by the weather, to be affected by the pitch which is dry and slow, it’s very easy to say ‘I’ve got jet lag, I didn’t sleep very well’ and (on Wednesday) we’d arrived, had lunch, had commercial duties but the training in the first session was fantastic,” the ex-Real Madrid manager signed off.