Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho sat in front of the media ahead of the Premier League clash with Burnley at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon. United put their 4-0 defeat at Chelsea behind them with a derby victory over Manchester City in the EFL Cup at Old Trafford on Wednesday night, bringing back the confidence ahead of this Premier League clash, which ideally will see United return to winning ways in the league to turn around their form. United sit seventh in the league at this stage of the season, just six points adrift of the teams sharing the top position. Manchester City now have not won in six matches, which you would think would see Pep Guardiola gain some negative press, much like the negativity Louis van Gaal saw last season when United were in a period of eight matches without a win. Perhaps if a result does not come at West Bromwich Albion, the against Barcelona next week, negativity will darken the doorstep of the Spaniard, which to be honest, should be there already. Here are the main points from the press conference.
Jose Mourinho on his Manchester United team selection:
“The same way everybody wanted to play against City because of such a big defeat the match before, it’s the same for this. Everyone wants to play now for different reasons, everybody wants to play now because they’re happy and they’re confident. Little problems we have but little problems we will fight against.”
Mourinho on the victory over Manchester City at Old Trafford on Wednesday:
“After the Chelsea defeat, we had to play City two days after and because of that defeat the match became more than a normal cup match. Sometimes people react to bad defeats in a negative way but in this case the boys they managed to find that extra effort. It was very important for the players to win and to give back to the fans, not as a compensation for defeat but to give a lift. We progressed a competition where Manchester United hasn’t been very successful in recent years. It was important to go to the quarter-final.”
Mourinho on the form of Manchester United:
“What I know is that in the last seven matches we only lost 1 and it is better to lose one match 4-0 than four matches 1-0. Our last run of results isn’t bad, the performance level was even better. We lost two pts against Stoke which was our best match. The opportunities we made against Stoke could have seen us score 4, 5, 6 goals. The run of performances isn’t bad.”
Mourinho on Sean Dyche’s Burnley:
“Burnley are difficult, I have felt that. Even in the year I was champion we drew at home to Burnley. It is the same Burnley. It is going to be very difficult for us because we arrive after a run of five matches with just two days rest in between. Finally we are going to have a Sunday off and a little bit of time before the second Fenerbahce match.”
Mourinho on Henrikh Mkhitaryan and why he has not been involved since the 2-1 defeat to Manchester City in the Premier League:
“Not an injury. Sometimes I confuse the meaning fit in the English language, sometimes fit means that you aren’t injured. Mkhitaryan is not injured, he is training with the team 100%. Some players have the profile of adapting easily but some other players need more time to feel the intensity. Some players need time to feel the competitiveness and the level of work without the ball. Mkhi needs time to become the top player we know he can be.”
Mourinho on Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s similarities to Willian when he signed for Chelsea and Angel Di Maria when he signed for Real Madrid:
“I don’t like to speak about players from other clubs but Willian, when he arrived at Chelsea, had problems, he went through a process. When Angel Di Maria arrived in Madrid from Portugal he had to adapt his game to a new reality but he did it. Of course, we believe in Miki and sooner or later there will be no problem.”
Mourinho on the ‘phenomenal’ Michael Carrick:
“He’s phenomenal, no doubt about it, but I think I have to manage him. I can’t expect from Michael what I expect from Rashford or Herrera in terms of playing three to five consecutive matches, but he’s phenomenal.”
"He is phenomenal."
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 28, 2016
Manchester United need to press on with the rest of their season, forgetting what has happened recently, despite completing a six-match unbeaten run of matches. The 4-0 defeat to Chelsea needs to be forgotten about too, in the sense that there is no point in dwelling on the result. Burnley is United’s next opposition in the Premier League and therefore a chance for United to turn their league form around. United have not won a league match in over a month; the last victory against reigning champions Leicester City on the 24th September. Being undefeated in six matches is great, but not winning crucial points is what could separate the men from the boys at the end of the season. Mourinho knows that he needs to be winning key matches and that is where the defeat to Chelsea could come in. United need to use that to show some fight in the team, use it as inspiration. The fact that individual players are also seeing a lot of criticism if also defining in the fact that the criticism should be used to get the individual players to perform and perform consistently, which seems to be a problem at this moment in time.
Against Manchester City, Ander Herrera and Juan Mata were inspirational players and therefore, they need to be a constant in the team as that seems to work. When other players see that the Spanish duo’s performances are the reason for their constant inclusion, it might see the rest of the players pick up their form and fight for places in the team. Herrera and Mata cannot play every match, they need to be rested here and there to avoid a burnout, which is where other players can be given the chance to demonstrate their abilities and seal their place in the team. The fact the media seem to have only thought about negativity coming off that 4-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, which is a hard stadium for United to come away with a result, especially seeing that they have won twice in 14 years, that just shows that negativity is the most popular way to promote their stories. Positivity clearly does not sell in the mainline media, especially when more people want to read about Manchester United’s failure, over the possibility of positive articles.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan is a player that has been used by the media over the last week. The player is not injured, as has been confirmed a few times. Those ‘great’ (pardon my sarcasm) journalists at Britain’s most hated newspaper, The S*n wrote that Mkhitaryan is a Manchester United flop and he would be sold in January. All this based on the fact he has not played since his poor 45 minutes against Manchester City in the first Manchester derby of the season. They continued to write negative articles on other players such as Morgan Schneiderlin, who was also to be sold, despite being out with an injury at the time, making an appearance against Manchester City on Wednesday evening. Mkhitaryan was subject to clarification in Mourinho’s press conference with him still needing time to adapt, just like Willian did when Mourinho signed him for Chelsea and Angel Di Maria at Real Madrid. Those reports of the club selling Mkhitaryan, without really giving him the chance just show that journalists have no insight anymore, the club does not trust them, but when the write for The S*n, you can understand why they are not trusted. Poor newspaper, if you can really call it that, more like tabloid lies.