Jose Mourinho says he is in the process of restoring Manchester United’s DNA and will not worry about the results of his rivals in the chase for a Champions League place.
The United manager, whose team dismantled West Ham United 4-1 in a midweek EFL Cup tie at Old Trafford, knows indifferent results in the Premier League have allowed the front-runners to pull away.
However, Mourinho takes his team to Everton on Sunday insisting that his difficult, radical transition of tactics is “good fun”, adding: “I only care about the way we play … keep the faith in the way we are playing and try to have better results, and let’s see where that ends.”
Jose Mourinho is in his first season at Old Trafford, having succeeded Louis van Gaal in the summer after the Dutchman, widely criticised by supporters for a brand of football that seemed at odds with United traditions, failed to save his job by winning the FA Cup.
“I am here to build the future, and build the future with a certain DNA, with a certain style,” he said. “It is one of the items [of the job], but there are others, and some other items are also related to football results, objectives and targets.
“So I would not be just happy with that. I demand a lot from myself, I demand a lot from the people that work with me, I demand a lot from the players, and I like the clubs to demand a lot from myself, too. So I cannot say that I would be just happy with that item. I want more.”
Mourinho was unable to watch Saturday’s key game between Manchester City and Chelsea because of training, “but I am not going to do the mathematics. I am not going to be worried about that. We are in a situation at the moment where we cannot be thinking about the Manchester City v Chelsea result or another result. I don’t care.
“We lost eight points at home that we did not deserve to lose. With those eight points, I think we would be third, just behind the leaders, so I think it is a false position”.
Jose Mourinho has changed United’s approach so that “we play now in between the opponents’ lines. We look forward, our defensive line is very high. Our central defenders don’t follow the man, they defend zonal.
“There are different styles of playing football. We try to follow our style. I have never had a team with so much ball possession. I have never had a team with so much control of a game by having the ball. I have never had a team that creates so many chances.
“If we manage to have all of those with some more pragmatism in front of the goal and in a defensive process, then we will be very, very good.”
However, the once self-styled Special One is anxious not be interpreted as criticising Van Gaal: “Please respect that I am not better than the others, and the others are not better than me. We just think in a different way.
“If the next Man Utd manager is completely antagonistic to my ideas, it will be difficult for him. If he thinks football in a similar way, it will be easier for him. It is just football.”
Jose Mourinho, who has also managed Chelsea, Real Madrid and Inter Milan, conceded that no job had been harder than his current one. “From a tactical point of view, I never had so many contradictions. To try and go in a completely different direction this time, it is difficult but good fun and [I’m] very happy to do this, so I am ready.”