Mourinho opens up: Man Utd boss talks Zlatan return, Morata and Matic pursuits, and Lukaku
JOSE MOURINHO’s comments opened a can of worms in his Manchester United press conference on the club’s pre-season tour of America.
Manchester United’s players are currently being put through their paces in the States ahead of their first pre-season outing against LA Galaxy tomorrow.
But the Portuguese boss did find time to talk to the media about a whole range of topics that will have their fans chomping at the bit.
With Victor Lindelof and Romelu Lukaku United’s only summer arrivals so far, the 54-year-old boss was grilled on links to Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata and Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic.
Mourinho has reportedly asked United’s hierarchy for a new full back, holding midfielder and a player capable of playing across the second line of his attack as a winger or number 10.
But before he was quizzed on the transfer links, Mourinho outlined some exciting plans for what the future may hold for Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Swede has been officially released from the club after United decided not to extend his one-year deal.
But the experienced striker is still recovering from ligament damage he sustained in April at the club’s Carrington training ground.
Reports have suggested Ibrahimovic could be in line for a short-term deal once he returns to full fitness in the New Year and Mourinho is definitely open to the idea.
Here, Express Sport brings you a full recap of all the best quotes from Mourinho’s press conference.
Mourinho on the possibility of Ibrahimovic returning…
“Possible, it’s open, of course we wanted to be honest and open and let everything for him to make the decision.
“At the same time let’s make a decision that makes us all happy and if that is for him to stay and for us to wait, let’s say in December maybe, because I don’t think before December he can get back to competitive football, but why not wait for a player who gave us so much.
“We are changing ideas and it’s with Mr Woodward and Zlatan’s agent but the final decision is the best for the player.”
Mourinho on transfers…
“I can’t say any word about a player who is a Chelsea player, it’s the same with Morata, we have to respect the player, the club, the owner, the manager.
“I don’t want to be disrespectful, we don’t have our door closed, we are not happy with just Lukaku and Lindelof, we need more, we wanted four, so I would say 50% of the job is done but I don’t want to say that because everything is so difficult.
“I would like to be in Ed Woodward’s position negotiating because everything is really difficult, so maybe we don’t get two, we get one but we need one more to give us more options.
“We have players that belong to the squad but cannot play for next few months, Rojo, Ashley Young, Luke Shaw, if Zlatan stays.
“We need two more players I would say, at least one but I don’t want to say Matic or any other name because I don’t think it’s correct.”
Mourinho on Morata…
“I don’t like to speak about players who aren’t ours, because Morata is not our player. I am nobody to speak about players from Real Madrid.
“Yes, we have had interest, that is obvious and it’s public. We have not come to an economic agreement, that is obvious as well.
“But it’s a Real Madrid’s right to ask for their players the amount of money that they want.
“We do not determine what the price is of a player of Real Madrid, Real Madrid do that. And we didn’t arrive at an agreement with Real Madrid.
“I do not criticise Madrid and I am not going to criticise my board because my board has made the offer, and they have tried to reach an agreement during a time, and they didn’t come to an agreement. It’s simple.
Mourinho on Lukaku and what he expects…
“Hopefully goals, he’s the kind of player that everybody knows he’s a striker so we’re not speaking about a multi functional player or create doubts about positions on the pitch, he’s a strier and normally strikers score goals.
“The reason why he was so important and difficult to get is what he did in the Premier League because obviously there are other good strikers in football but the Premier League is a very specific habitat, a different habitat, normally they need some time to adapt and Lukaku plays in Premier League for the last four or five seasons.”
Mourinho on his relationship with Lukaku…
“I didn’t negotiate, it was Mr Woodward who negotiated with Romelu, his agent and the Everton board, the only thing I did was to call him when the situation was almost there just to guarantee him that he would be an important player in my team.
“It’s quite a great experience the fact we worked together already for a few months and during the time when I was at Chelsea and when he was at Everton our relationship was always very close despite it not working well for us together.
“He’s intelligent, he’s polite, we kept the contact, the feeling and now we are back together in different moments and I have no doubts it is going to work.”