Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has claimed that his challenge at Old Trafford is similar to the one he faced at Real Madrid. The Portuguese gaffer opened up before United’s clash with Manchester City in the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday in the Premier League.
The Portuguese ended Real’s three-year trophy drought in his first season at the Santiago Bernabeu. The Los Blancos defeated Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final. Mourinho then guided the club to the La Liga title the following year.
“I would say it’s similar to the Real Madrid one because they were two giants in two difficult periods. You go to the giant club, you feel the dimension, you feel the pressure and you feel the expectation. But you also feel the club is not ready, not ready for this kind of expectation and you have to work more,” Mourinho said, as reported by Sky Sports.
“And then you have to fight more. So I would compare my arrival here to my arrival at Real Madrid. Chelsea was a different profile, Inter Milan a different profile. Porto a different profile as well.”
City are favorites for top four
Mourinho also claimed that City are the favorites to beat United to a top four finish in the Premier League table. The 54-year-old man from Setubal, Portugal feels that City’s absence in European competition will help them during the final stretch of the season.
“They play now one game a week until the end of the season while we have the [Europa League] semi-finals which are very important for us. Obviously to play one match per week brings teams and players to other levels, so it’s more difficult for us but we are going to try,” Mourinho added, as reported by Sportskeeda.
Mourinho is building for the future
The former Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid manager claimed that he is not concerned by titles at this stage. He is instead focused on building for the future.
“It doesn’t matter what happens in terms of titles we win or don’t win. I always feel that the season is very important for me, the players and the club,” Mourinho stated.
“I would say this can be the first season of the next five or six or seven. It can be the first season of better years. If we manage to win the Europa League and in August to play the European Super Cup against the Champions League winner, it will be magnificent.”
Meanwhile, Mourinho also refused to be drawn on the future of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swede will not play again this season after injuring his knee against Anderlecht.
The forward’s one-year deal expires this summer. However, does include the option for a further year.
Photo courtesy: Aleksandr Osipov/Flickr