Last week saw old rivals renew their managerial rivalry as Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho both looked determined and willing to make a quick impact in this year’s Premier League campaign. The two made daring and exciting comments as journalists across the world cramped inside Manchester conference rooms where a variety of questions were asked to two of the world’s most fine managers in the business.
However as a result of these appearances, supporters across the country have been left with a sense of excitement and anticipation for the forthcoming months ahead. Mourinho who was officially announced as head coach at Old Trafford back in May had a lot to say for himself and what the two-time Champions League winner revealed to journalists was somewhat astonishing. But what have we learnt from this ?
“Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I’m a special one.”
“We have top players and, sorry if I’m arrogant, we have a top manager.”
These words which were projected onto the world stage after the 2004 Champions League triumph with Porto have most certainly lived up to expectations. A now seemingly aged Mourinho who’s egotistic persona has seemed to calm down in recent years has stepped up to the mark into a club who have desired him for a substantial period of time.
Having won the Capital One Cup and the Premier League only a year ago, Manchester United’s biggest asset seemed very relaxed and ready to start a tough season in Stretford.
“We decided four targets. From these four we have three, and until we don’t have the fourth we are still working hard. Myself, the structure, Mr Woodward, the owners, we are working hard. When we have the fourth we can all breathe, and then the market will be open. We are not going to get the fourth on the 31st of August, we will get the fourth before then.”
The Portuguese has consistently reshaped his team to his advantage at the start of his tenure at a club. In West London, Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas were purchased with Thibaut Courtois being recalled from loan in Madrid in the summer of 2014. When we saw these completed Chelsea had a variety of strengths in their squad and after winning their opening fixture to Burnley, the Blues were never stopped as they went on to win their 5th league title in the history of the club.
With a colossal £60 million already spent on the Ivorian defender Eric Bailly, former Borussia Dortmund playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan and the completion of free transfer Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mourinho will certainly look to emulate the series of events he achieved with Chelsea in the coming months.
It comes at no surprise that some of the biggest names in world football are hunting the infamous Frenchman, who had a somewhat mixed Euro 2016. The Juventus star played a key role in Didier Deschamps’s team and managed to complete 14 take-ons over the course of the month, which tallied over Atletico and Euro top goal scorer Antoine Griezmann, who managed eight. A more eye-opening stat which supports the skill set and talent Paul Pogba acquires is the 10 interceptions he won against the opposition during Les Bleus’ mission to the final, this ended up to be one less than potential Chelsea transfer target N’Golo Kante, who was imperative for Leicester City’s title win last season.
Throughout the press conference on the 5th July, it was made extremely clear that this season was the one for Mourinho to assert his power as a coach.
“You can win a short competition, you can win a couple of matches, without playing well. But you cannot win competitions without playing well. What is playing well? It is scoring more goals than the opponents, conceding less, making your fans proud because you give everything and you win. It is everything at the same time.”
This quote by the Special One reveals a lot about how Jose wants to strengthen this United side and coinciding with his overconfident reference to securing a £100 million move for Pogba. We learn that this Manchester side next season will be one of severe skill, talent and value and that Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward has put his entire faith and trust in the former Inter Milan and Real Madrid boss’s hands in order for a successful season and tenure in the coming years.
After recently settling a court case with former Chelsea club doctor Eva Carneiro, Mourinho was very precise in his wording when asked to describe the last stretch of road during his time in London.
“The first month was fine. The second was not so good, and after the second month, was a disaster”
After having a nightmare to finish the second spell with the club ‘he loves’, Mourinho seems set to avenge his Premier League form with a trip to the Vitality stadium on the opening Sunday where the proven Premier League champion is looking increasingly likely to start a team of high stature and one of which could match those of past times with speed, flair and precision (1998-1999).
After not seeing any Jose in over half a year in England’s top flight he couldn’t help but resist a subtle attack on rival Arsene Wenger saying:
“There are some managers that the last time they won a title was 10 years ago. Some of them, the last time was never. The last time I won the title was a year ago. So if I have a lot to prove, imagine the others.”
With Antonio Conte and Guardiola also starting huge roles at their respective clubs this season, you can’t help but admire the work Jose Mourinho has already done for this United team and acknowledge the determination and aspirations he has for the future to make an impact and most certainly challenge for England’s biggest prize.
This article is written by Reuben Rosso, you can follow him on Twitter at @Talk2RossoSport. What are your thoughts? Let us know by dropping a comment via our comments box below. Make sure you follow us on Twitter, Google+, Instagram and like us on Facebook.