Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho sat with the media ahead of their UEFA Europa League group stage match against Feyenoord in Rotterdam on Thursday evening. United were beaten for the first time this season after losing 2-1 to Manchester City in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford on Saturday. United were poor in the first half of the match, livening up the game at 2-0 down with Zlatan Ibrahimovic getting a goal back to put United back into the match. The second half was much better with United getting the better of their rivals, but still not able to find that elusive equaliser, despite trying. United have some poor form against Dutch teams, especially last season when they were defeated 2-1 by PSV Eindhoven, a year to the date for their match against Feyenoord, drawing 0-0 at Old Trafford later in the season. Feyenoord, a team in good form this season, winning five out of five in the Eredivisie and sitting at the top of the table. Here are the main points from the press conference.
Jose Mourinho on Wayne Rooney being rested for the Feyenoord match on Thursday:
“Wayne [Rooney] has played every game since the start of the season. He has also played 90 minutes for England and he played 90 minutes last weekend and I want him to be fresh for the next match. In the position he plays I have lots of solutions.”
Mourinho also confirming that Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw have been rested for Thursday’s match:
“In the positions where I have other solutions, it means I can have fresh players for this game and then fresh players for the game on Sunday. I’ll try to have a strong team here and a strong team for Sunday. He [Wayne] took it professionally, like the other players.”
Mourinho giving reasons why Luke Shaw has been rested and that Marcos Rojo will start at left-back:
“I didn’t make the decision based on that negative episode (Shaw’s broken leg). Luke is a very good player, who is working well and hard. My options in the first four matches have been Luke, Luke, Luke, Luke. It is time for Marcos to play.”
Mourinho on the UEFA Europa League:
“This is not a competition that Manchester United wants. It’s not the big dream of every big player, but we are not in the Champions League. It is too early to talk about winning this competition, but this is a big club and the next match is always important when you play for Manchester United. If you see what happened last season, against Midtjylland, you don’t forget that as a fan. Maybe as a player but not the fans. We have to make sure we are not sleeping.”
Mourinho on the limited capacity of Feyenoord’s De Kuip stadium in Rotterdam:
“There is not player or manager who wants to play in an empty stadium. We are lucky it is not closed, just half of it, but half is not the same as full. Every player wants a great atmosphere. I remember clearly what happened against Roma. I don’t think this is Feyenoord, Feyenoord is much bigger than a few hundred that created that situation. But in the end the clubs are punished by this actions. The players are going to be punished, I am punished, van Bronckhorst will be punished. I have played here in friendly matches and I know the atmosphere will be good with half of it.”
Ander Herrera on playing for England’s most successful club:
“I think this is a very important competition for me and the club. United have never won this competition, so this is a challenge for us. I play for the most successful club in England and we want to keep winning trophies.
“We want to win every game. Tomorrow is a good challenge for us – we have to show a reaction [from Saturday].
“We are enjoying every training session and every player is ready to play.”
Herrera on Manchester United’s derby day disappointment:
“They were better than us in the first half, we have to accept that, no excuses. But next time we face a team like Man City, who like to play from their keeper, we will do it better. You have to learn from every situation.”
Herrera on Jose Mourinho – he did not want to compare the new manager with Louis van Gaal:
“I do not want to talk about the past – I do not think that is fair on the old manager. But I feel very comfortable under this manager and we enjoy every training session. I feel his confidence every day and my teammates the same. Mourinho has told us there will be time for everybody.”
Herrera signing off with a great comment:
“I can make mistakes because I am human but what I am not going to do is give up. Never.”
Jose Mourinho also confirmed that Phil Jones is out for a month, at least after suffering lateral knee ligament damage in training. It would seem that whichever manager leads the club; Sir Alex Ferguson, David Moyes, Ryan Giggs, Louis van Gaal or Mourinho, Jones is still going to be that injury prone player who should be wrapped up in cotton wool and filed under ‘inferior’. The injuries he has suffered are not his fault, but he has suffered more than enough, which could suggest that he may not see much action this season, even when fit. Mourinho mentioned Axel Tuanzebe again, a player he has talked about a lot since he became United’s new manager. The Portuguese manager gave Tuanzebe ten minutes against Wigan Athletic in pre-season, which he states was more than enough to see the player’s qualities. Perhaps Tuanzebe could leapfrog Jones this season and get into the first team ahead of him, which would be great news for both United and the player himself, not so much for Jones though who seems to have had his chance time and time again.