Jose Mourinho insists he will not “run away or disappear” from his responsibilities after launching an impassioned defence of his Manchester United tenure.
The Portuguese has faced severe criticism over his tactics in the wake of United’s dismal Champions League last-16 exit to Sevilla on Tuesday.
Mourinho was particularly panned for the defensive mindset the Red Devils set up with in the 2-1 defeat, as Wissam Ben Yedder’s double put the tie beyond United, and his comments that it is not a new situation for the club attracted further scrutiny.
But, armed with a collection of notes that he referred to, Mourinho delivered an emotional 12-minute diatribe fighting back against his critics in his latest media conference, pointing to United’s recent history and that of Manchester City to explain his team’s recent struggles.
“I say to the fans that the fans are the fans and have the right to their opinions and reactions. But there is something that I used to call football heritage,” he said.
“And what a manager inherits is something like the last time that Manchester United were in the Champions League final, which didn’t happen a lot of times, was in 2011. Since 2011, 2012, out in the group phase, the group was almost the same group we had this season, Benfica, Basel and Galati from Romania. Out in the group phase.
“In seven years with four different managers, once not qualify for Europe, twice out in the group phase and the best was the quarter-final, this is football heritage. And, if you want to go to the Premier League, the last victory was 12-13 and in the four consecutive seasons United finish seventh, fourth, fifth and sixth. So, in the last four years, the best was fourth.
“This is football heritage. It means that when you start the process you are here, you are there or you are there, it is heritage.
“Those stats are real. I give you a couple more: In the last seven years the worst position of Manchester City in the Premier League was fourth, in the last seven years Manchester City was champions twice and, if you want to say three times, they were second twice. That’s heritage.
“Do you know what is also heritage? It is that Otamendi, Kevin de Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva, Sterling, Aguero, they are investments from the past, not from the last two years. Do you know how many United players left the club last season? See where they play, how they play, if they play. That’s football heritage and, one day, when I leave, the next Manchester United manager will find here Lukaku, Matic, of course De Gea from many years ago, they will find players with a different mentality, a different quality, a different background, with a different status, with a different know-how.
“And, for some reason, you go to the Champions League quarter-final like today and there are four clubs that are always there, always there. Barcelona is always there in the past seven, eight years, Real Madrid, Juventus, Bayern Munich and then, of course, appear now and again, another club like my Inter, like some other clubs like Monaco last season.”
Mourinho went on: “Life is good, I have an amazing job to do.
“Yesterday I met a new person working in the club – different area to me, nothing direct with me – a person that came from another club. I asked, ‘Why did you decide to come?’
“He told me ‘Because I did a fantastic job in another club and I know that I have a huge job to do so I have a challenge’.
“I said well done, my decision was based on something similar. I could be in another league where the title is in the pocket, practically won before a ball is kicked.
“But I’m not there, I’m going to be here. No way are you going to change my mentality. For me, I don’t know if you know the expression, there is a quote I like; ‘In every wall is a door, every wall is a door’.
“I’m not going to run away, disappear, cry, because I heard a few boos. I won’t disappear from the tunnel running immediately, the next match I’ll be first to go out.
“I respect the fans, I’m not afraid of anything. When I was 20 years old, I was nobody in football, I was someone’s son.
“And now, at 55, I am what I am, I did what I did because of work, because of my talent and my mentality, so they can be together. I understand that for many, many, many years it was really hard for people that don’t like me to say, ‘Here he is again, he wins again’.
“So, for those months I win nothing, 10 months nothing. Last title I won was 10 months ago. I beat Liverpool, Chelsea, lose to Sevilla – it’s their moment to be happy.
“I also learn that in my religious formation to be happy with the others’ happiness even if the others are your enemies.”