José Mourinho believes the teams he has managed receive more criticism than others because they are serial winners and other people have “different standards” to the Manchester United manager.
Following United’s goalless draw at Liverpool Mourinho and his side were viewed as having adopted negative tactics, yet they are second in the Premier League after eight matches, head their Champions League group with maximum points and are unbeaten in all competitions.
Asked if the sides he manages attract a greater level of criticism, Mourinho said: “It’s my fault, because people are used to my teams getting good results and winning titles. Other people have more time than I have [to criticise]. Other people have different standards than I have and that’s not a problem for me at all. We are going to lose matches, that’s obvious, and I can imagine we are going to have even more criticism than we have now. But honestly, that is no problem.” During his 17-year managerial career the Portuguese has claimed eight championships in four different competitions – La Liga, Serie A, Primeira Liga and England’s top flight.
Mourinho has also claimed two Champions Leagues, the Europa League and its predecessor, the Uefa Cup, the FA Cup, four League Cups, plus the domestic cup competitions of Italy, Portugal and Spain once.
Asked if jealousy may be part of the reason for the criticism, the 54-year-old, whose side face Huddersfield on Saturday, said: “I don’t care about what it is. I simply don’t care. No, it’s not a motivation. It doesn’t change my mind or my stability. We work hard, we try to do the best we can and get the best possible results. In relation to the last match, speaking about the Champions League [1-0 win at Benfica] I would like to know – because I don’t know – when United last won two consecutive matches away. I would like to know the last time United won nine points from three matches in the Champions League. We are doing OK.”
Mourinho’s team have conceded only two Premier League goals, the division’s lowest, and one in the Champions League. Despite the negative perception of United, he will continue to deploy a bespoke strategy to gain results in particular games.
“If a team defends badly, concedes five goals but attacks phenomenally well and scores six, then that’s absolutely beautiful and amazing,” the manager said. “I know my team cannot score four, five or six every match. I know that, especially with a certain profile of matches, it is difficult for us to score a lot of goals. We have to try to find balances and I’m really happy with what the team is doing. Critics, critics – no problem.”
After the midweek victory at Benfica, Mourinho criticised managers who use injuries as an excuse. This irritated Chelsea’s Antonio Conte, who believed he was the person being targeted.
But Mourinho said: “I don’t speak about him. I don’t know why he speaks about me. Maybe it’s not his fault – maybe it’s the journalists’ fault when probably they’ve passed him a wrong message. I moan about the fixtures, moan about no time to rest. I moan about why I don’t understand why we play Saturday after Wednesday when we should play Sunday. I moan about this all the time but not about injuries. When managers say I moan about the fixtures then they are right, but nobody can say I moan about injuries because I always try to speak about opportunities for other players.”
“If you ask if he can play next week against Tottenham then I don’t know,” he said, before being asked why Pogba is being treated in Florida. “You will have to ask Dr McNally [the head of the medical department]. He is responsible for that. I’m in control of the players who are available. I’m not happy or unhappy [about Pogba] – it’s not my responsibility.”