manchestereveningnews: Jose Mourinho says the biggest problems at Manchester United still exist at the club.
Former United manager Mourinho was dismissed after two-and-a-half years in charge on December 18 and, despite a prolonged bounce period under current coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, United ended the season with an embarrassing two wins from their final 12 fixtures.
Mourinho signed a new United contract in January of last year but was not properly backed in a summer transfer window which United ended without buying two priority targets – a centre-back and a forward.
The United recruitment department vetoed some of Mourinho’s suggested options to reinforce the squad and the Portuguese was left frustrated by a lack of face time with the executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward during the club’s fraught pre-season tour of the United States.
Mourinho’s relationship with Paul Pogba deteriorated at the start of last year and the France World Cup winner was stripped of the second captain’s role in September, having been offered to Manchester City by his agent Mino Raiola in January.
In an interview with L’Équipe, Mourinho was reluctant to specifically discuss whether Pogba – who appeared to revel in Mourinho’s sacking on Twitter – was primarily responsible for his downfall.
“From Manchester United, I mean only two things,” Mourinho said. “One is that time has spoken. Two is that the problems are still there.
When asked if he had been a ‘victim’ of Pogba, Mourinho replied. “No no. The problems are there, you can imagine that it is the players, the organisation, the ambition. I only say that I cannot say when you ask if Paul was the only one responsible.”
Mourinho was diplomatic about Anthony Martial, a player he was open to selling last summer amid the Frenchman’s desire to leave the club. The United hierarchy blocked Mourinho’s attempt to discard Martial and opened contract talks with the Frenchman in August before triggering the one-year extension in Martial’s contract the day before Mourinho was dismissed in December.
Hours after the one-year option was activated on December 17, Martial’s agent Philippe Lamboley claimed he was ‘pessimistic’ about a long-term agreement, yet Martial inked a five-year deal on January 31. Mourinho did not deny there were ‘conflicts’ with Martial when he was asked whether the situation was comparable with his relationship with Karim Benzema at Real Madrid.
“With Karim it was not a conflict,” Mourinho added. “I just wanted to help the player – an incredibly talented player – to change his mindset, to help him reach his maximum. To become a killer, a determined center forward. I really enjoyed working with Karim.
“Martial? He is a boy with a different personality. The thing I can say is that I hope he will reach a dimension to the lure of his real potential.”
Source: Published by manchestereveningnews