Manchester United manager José Mourinho gave a long and interesting interview to Portuguese TV Channel SIC over the weekend.
The boss welcomed journalist Nuno Luz to Carrington, and explained all the work he’s been doing since taking charge of the club.
Speaking about the club’s facilities, Mourinho said he’s had to make many changes to the training pitches. He mentioned alterations to pitch sizes, changing the grass and the installation of floodlights so the team could work until late in the afternoon.
“We tried to improve. We tried to make a personal impression. We tried to modernise a little, even internally, some working conditions. You know, a club can be a giant, but when you stop for a couple of years, it’s complicated.”
Mourinho’s comments regarding the training pitches and floodlights may be considered curious given that Louis van Gaal initiated the process to have floodlights installed, and Manchester United received planning permission in April 2015.
Van Gaal also oversaw updates to Carrington’s facilities, something which was well documented at the time, so for Mourinho to suggest the club stood still in that regard is a little off.
The 26-minute Portuguese programme had many details of Mourinho’s life in Manchester. Besides his work place, SIC also showed where he and his staff all have dinner so they can spend time together and soften the fact they don’t live with their families.
Mourinho also talked about the frequent trips he makes to London by train, describing the short travel time as something that doesn’t make him feel far from big cities.
But the most interesting quotes came when Mourinho spoke about Sir Alex Ferguson. According to the current manager, the Manchester United legend hasn’t been very close to the team lately.
Asked about how they get along these days, Mourinho said: “It’s the same relationship we had in the old days. A phone call, an SMS, sympathetic details like we always had with each other. A Christmas, a birthday, a more important game. When he left here, he wanted to leave and not come back. I think, perhaps, for his own comfort. Maybe going back is to suffer a little.
“But after I arrived he came in again. He came back to visit the people he worked with for so many years. He traveled with us once again. And that’s what I said: It doesn’t make sense that we’re playing in London and go on a private train and you Sir will go by car. You’re not going by car, no. Go by train with the team.
“But he is so respectful that he becomes even a little shy in this approach. We have to make him feel loved. In our head there are no ghosts, no complexes, no such thing.
“There have been situations at the end of the game where Sir Bobby Charlton comes down, the executive director comes down, and he, who is with them, does not come to the dressing room. That kind of situation, I already said that makes absolutely no sense. That with me he has to be perfectly at ease to do it as a person of his dimension and who represents so much to the club.”
Jose Mourinho has made a real effort with Manchester United fans, and also the club’s traditions, with Sir Alex Ferguson being a big part of that. It’s commendable from the Portuguese manager, but the digs at those who went before him are not.