Jose Mourinho: Man Utd players don’t know what it is to win

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The Portuguese manager says he has a habit for choosing teams in “big trouble” and his current team is no different as he must address their mentality

Jose Mourinho says he took over a group of players that “do not know what it is to win” when he arrived at Manchester United.

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After success at Porto, Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid, the Portuguese coach arrived at Old Trafford last year intent on taking them back into the Champions League and in contention for Premier League titles.

United lifted the Europa League and EFL Cup in Mourinho’s first season, but he has been criticised for poor performances in the league as his side finished sixth, 24 points behind champions Chelsea.

Jose Mourinho Manchester United Europa League final

The 54-year-old says he must change the attitude within the team, insisting only a few players had the required winning mentality.

“I arrived at Manchester United and do you know how many of these players were champions? The ‘oldies’ that are near the end of their careers and had remained from the Sir Alex Ferguson era,” he told Expresso. 

“Others do not know what it is to win. It’s impossible to teach football, all I can do is teach how to think. The most important thing is the ideas.”

Mourinho is confident he can turn things around, though, insisting it has been a recurring theme in his career.

“I’m really bad at picking teams, I always choose teams that are, as they say in England, in big trouble. Inter were in big trouble, Real Madrid were in big trouble, Manchester United in big trouble.

“What does ‘big trouble’ mean? It means that they are teams that want to win but are thousands of miles away from winning. The size and history of the club is one thing, but the actuality of the club is another.

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“Take the Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos who lifted the Champions League trophy the other day and who is now a three-time European champion as an example. When I came to Real Madrid in 2010, he had never played in the quarter-finals. Not just the final or the semi-final, he had never played the quarter-finals of the Champions League.”

Having succeeded in four different leagues and won the Champions League twice, Mourinho believes he has raised the bar for managers from his country.

“Guardiola is a reference point for the Spanish technicians, Sacchi is one for Italians, I think I’ve helped create a positive image of Portuguese coaches.”

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