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MANCHESTER, Sept 14, 2018 (News Wires) - Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku defended Jose Mourinho’s confrontational style of management, saying that the Portuguese deserves respect for not hiding his true feelings like several Premier League bosses.

Mourinho has had strained relationships with some of his players at the club since taking charge in 2016, most notably with record signing Paul Pogba, but Belgian Lukaku said he preferred the manager to be honest.

“People need to appreciate that, at least there are people who are real in this world like him. Because most managers in the league, when they are not happy they try to find a way to seem happy,” Lukaku told the BBC.

“You should respect that he wants to keep his personality and not shy away from confrontation. He wants us to improve. He’s a normal guy... he’s cool with everybody.”

Lukaku suggested that players had to toughen up in the face of criticism and respond with better performances.

“Sometimes footballers, we get soft. If I listen to players from back in the day and now, a manager cannot say what he wants to a player because you feel attacked,” he added.

“But I don’t feel attacked, because that’s who I am — I am a tough man, but that doesn’t come from football, that comes from my background.

“My relationship with him (Mourinho) is cool. He makes me laugh, he makes the players laugh, he’s a real family guy. He fights for his players, but he’s real.”

LONDON, July 31, 2018 (News Wires) - Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says he is confident that the club will sign at least one more player before the Premier League’s transfer window closes on August 9.

The Portuguese boss expressed his hopes of signing two new recruits after United’s 4-1 defeat by Liverpool in the pre-season International Champions Cup last weekend in the United States but now says one addition seems more probable.

“I am confident I will get one, but I think two I am not going to get which is not a drama,” Mourinho told beIN SPORTS. “In every pre-season it happens the same with every club which is the manager wants more.

“It’s our nature, you always want more for your team but then club decisions are different and normally you don’t get what you want which happened during all my career.

“So if I get one player until the end of the market, that’s fine.”

United have struggled to impress in pre-season with a patchy squad that has been depleted through injuries and key players resting after the World Cup in Russia. Their sole pre-season win came against AC Milan last week.

The club’s inconsistent performances have led Mourinho to express his frustration on multiple occasions throughout the US tour, including criticising individual players and United’s lack of transfer activity.

Goalkeeper Lee Grant, however, has dismissed the notion that Mourinho is unhappy with the squad.

“From what we’re getting from the inside it (the atmosphere around the camp) has been nothing but positive,” Grant told Sky Sports. “The messages we are getting from the manager are positive ones and that is important for us going forward.

“His attitude and demeanour around the place are great and that is helpful for us especially when we are under-manned and we are working our hardest.”

United play Champions League holders Real Madrid and German champions Bayern Munich in their next two friendlies before hosting Leicester City in the opening league fixture on August 10.

MANCHESTER, July 24, 2018 (News Wires) - Jose Mourinho believes the World Cup environment helped bring out the best in Paul Pogba and the Manchester United manager wants the France midfielder to show the same focus and intensity at the Premier League club.

The 25-year-old, who moved to United from Juventus for a then world record fee in 2016, lit up the Premier League with moments of sublime skill but his inconsistency has been equally frustrating for the fans.

He was routinely criticised for his performances for United last season, but stepped up a gear in Russia, marshalling the France midfield alongside N’Golo Kante and scoring in the final as the side were crowned world champions for a second time.

“I don’t think it’s about us getting the best out of him, it’s about him giving the best he has to give,” Mourinho told ESPN. “I think the World Cup is the perfect habitat for a player like him to give (their) best.

“Why? Because it’s closed for a month, where he can only think about football. Where he’s with his team on the training camp, completely isolated from the external world, where they focus just on football, where the dimensions of the game can only motivate.

“During a season, you can have a big match then a smaller match, then one even smaller, then you can lose your focus, you can lose your concentration, then comes a big match again.”

Mourinho said it was easier for a player to keep improving his game as his side progressed at the World Cup.

“In the World Cup, the direction of the emotion, of the responsibility, of the big decisions is always growing ... You are in the group phase, you go to the last 16, to the quarter-finals, to the semi-finals, to the finals,” he added.

“This feeds the motivation. This feeds the concentration of a player. So I think it was the perfect environment for him.

“I think players in the World Cup, they really feel that extra commitment with a country... so they play for the team, and only for the team, and the team is the most important thing, and they do everything to try to succeed.

“It’s the perfect environment for a talented player like him to focus, to fully focus on the job.”

 

 

LONDON, July 23, 2018 (News Wires) - Manchester United have not hit top gear on their pre-season tour of the United States but manager Jose Mourinho has said he is not worried as a majority of his first team players are yet to rejoin the squad following the World Cup.

United drew 1-1 with Club America before a goalless draw against San Jose Earthquakes Sunday. Mourinho pointed out that his playing XI in both games did not resemble sides he would pick for Premier League matches.

"One more training session. We're not a team. We're a group of players from different teams," Mourinho told the club's website after the result at the Levi's Stadium.

"Some are first-team, some under-23s, some coming from loans and going on loan, some are younger, under-18s. We don't have a team to play much better than we did but it's one more training session."

Midfielder Nemanja Matic has arrived in the United States to join the squad while goalkeeper David De Gea and new signing Fred are set to link up with their team mates next week.

Striker Alexis Sanchez played in the game against San Jose after resolving a visa issue that delayed his trip.

The Chile international is eager to hit the ground running after struggling to make an impact since his transfer from Arsenal in January.

"Good for Alexis," Mourinho added. "The first time he plays after some individual sessions.

"He needed this and he made a good effort, a good physical effort, which is important for him in this moment."

United play AC Milan, Liverpool and Real Madrid in the United States this month before travelling to Germany to take on Bayern Munich in their final pre-season clash on Aug. 5.

Mourinho's side host Leicester City in the opening game of the Premier League season on Aug. 10.

 

 

LONDON, April 27, 2018 (Reuters) - Former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is not surprised by Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah’s exploits in the current campaign and said the decision to sell the Egyptian to Roma in 2016 was made by the London club.

Salah joined Chelsea under Mourinho in 2014 but failed to establish himself at Stamford Bridge and was loaned out to Fiorentina and Roma before a permanent move to the Stadio Olimpico outfit in 2016.

The 25-year-old returned to the Premier League with Liverpool this season and has excelled, scoring 31 goals in 33 matches to win the Professional Footballers’ Association’s Player of the Year award.

“People say that I was the one that sold Salah and it is the opposite,” Mourinho, who currently manages Manchester United, told ESPN.

“I was the one that bought Salah. I was the one that told Chelsea to buy Salah... But he came as a young kid, physically he was not ready, mentally he was not ready, socially and culturally he was lost and everything was tough for him.

“Chelsea decided to sell him, OK? ... So the decision to send him on loan was a decision we made collectively, but after that, the decision to sell him and to use that money to buy another player wasn’t mine.”

Salah has scored 43 goals across all competitions this season and is in contention to win the European Golden Boot.

“I think everything has surprised even him. It has been fantastic,” Mourinho added.

“But he is a great player that has reached the peak of maturity, he has already lived several other experiences and now has fitted perfectly into the style of play of the team, of the coach and of the club as well.”

Liverpool are currently third in the league and in prime position to reach the Champions League final, after a 5-2 win in the first leg of their semi-final against Roma.

The side return to league action when they host Stoke City on Saturday while Mourinho’s United host Arsenal a day later.

 

MANCHESTER, April 17, 2018 (Reuters) - Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is ready to drop established players for the FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday after the Old Trafford club’s weekend defeat by Premier League bottom side West Bromwich Albion.

United suffered a shock 1-0 home loss to West Brom on Sunday, handing the title to Manchester City, and Mourinho said his team were the “masters of complication”. They next visit Bournemouth on Wednesday before facing Spurs at Wembley.

Asked if he would rotate his players for the midweek league game on the south coast, Mourinho indicated that some of those who played against West Brom would feature again at Bournemouth because they had lost their place for the semi-final.

“Rotating is not the right word,” he was quoted as saying by The Independent. “If I play a player against Bournemouth and the player is phenomenal, he plays the semi-final.

“So is not rotating, because rotating looks like a player plays against Bournemouth to give a rest to somebody that is going to play against Spurs in the semi-final.

“So the word is not rotation, it is an opportunity for people, for some people, to play and to try to get a place in the team for Spurs. Some of the guys that played (on Sunday) don’t have a place in that team.”

Asked to clarify if he meant those who performed badly against West Brom would not play against Tottenham, Mourinho said: “Yeah. What is the criteria for a manager to choose a team? I only know one criteria: (it) is the way you play.

“Or do you want me to go for the price they cost, or their salary, or their beautiful face? The only way is to go with performance.”

Ander Herrera was substituted at halftime against West Brom, while fellow midfielder Paul Pogba came off in the 58th minute, but Mourinho said that a yellow card had also been a factor in the Frenchman’s replacement.

“It was not just him and he had a yellow card, so he was in a more difficult position than others,” Mourinho said.

“And playing with only two midfield players, you cannot play with one player in risk of not being able to make a foul.

“You can do it if your team is not losing the ball, but our team was losing the ball so easy with the complication, everything was complicated, so we were losing lots of balls.

“Paul was out because of the yellow card, because in terms of the way he played, he was not worse than some others that were on the pitch for 90 minutes.”

 

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