Sunday, September 19, 2021

Under-fire Mourinho insists he is ‘one of the greatest’

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Jose Mourinho insisted on Friday he is one of the world’s best managers in a continued defence of his managerial record despite Manchester United’s recent struggles.

Mourinho ended a press conference following his side’s 3-0 home defeat to Tottenham on Monday by demanding respect from the media.

United also lost, 3-2, at Brighton the week before, but the Portuguese launched into a fierce defence of his record.

“I am the manager of one of the greatest clubs in the world but I am also one of the greatest managers in the world,” said Mourinho.

That was the start of another edgy exchange between Mourinho and journalists in which he was asked whether he could still claim to be one of the greatest managers in the world should he fail to win a league title with United.

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And, in keeping with his recent self-justification, Mourinho even cited 18th century German philosopher Georg Hegel.

“Of course,” said Mourinho. “Hegel says the truth is in the whole, the truth is always in the whole.

“Do you ask that question to the manager that finished third in the Premier League or fourth? To the manager who finished fifth?”

When it was pointed out that Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp had faced a similar line of questioning last season, Mourinho cited the German’s record of never having won a European trophy.

“Because he never won anything in international (competition), for example. That’s his problem, I tell you what I think, how I feel. And I answer the question.”

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When Mourinho was pressed further, and quizzed as to whether his best days were behind him, the United manager reiterated his stance that finishing second behind a record-breaking Manchester City last season was one of his greatest achievements.

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“I had great success last season and that’s what you probably don’t want to admit,” he added.

“I analyse my performance, myself and for me it is more important what I think than what you think.

“I won eight (league) titles, I am the only manager in the world that won in Italy, Spain and England and by winning eight titles – not small titles or countries – my second position last season is one of my greatest achievements in football. I think.”

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One of the few positives from United’s start to the season has been left-back Luke Shaw’s return to form.

Shaw has not only won his place back in the United team but also been selected by England manager Gareth Southgate for the forthcoming internationals with Spain and Switzerland.

“He played three very good matches and is not easy to play three very good matches when your team loses two of them,” said Mourinho.

“Mentally, physically he is stronger; tactically he has a better understanding and we are very happy for him. It is an extraordinary thing for him.”

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