Manchester United started the new calendar year very well, but only last week, they slumbered to a 0-2 defeat against Tottenham. This loss has helped Manchester City gain a 15-points advantage over United and with that, Jose Mourinho’s hope for the coveted title might be shattered as well.
However, the Portuguese manager never sounded hopeless while talking about this. In fact, he remained positive and said that United will learn from this season to improve more in the next.
Jose Mourinho recalled Sir Alex Ferguson’s response when Chelsea won their second Premier League title in 2005-06. Sir Alex, then Manchester United manager, said that the team would need to improve a lot because Chelsea had raised the bar to a new level. And then, in the next season, the Red Devils won the title back. Mourinho thinks that that it has to be similar for this United side as well.
“That is why every match until the end of the season is important for us,” the 55-year-old pointed out. “It is not just about the points and finishing in the top four, which is important. Try to finish second. Try to play the best we can and improve the players individually the best we can and be the best possible team at the end of the season.”
“Then we must try to start next season in a good way, like we did this season, but try to be consistent and try not to lose points like we did this season in some matches where we shouldn’t,” said the former Chelsea manager.
On that note, Jose also talked about Marouane Fellaini who has run into another injury this week. The Belgian was out for a long time this season, and he returned to action just a couple of weeks ago. Against Tottenham, the midfielder made a substitute appearance, but unfortunately, after only seven minutes, he picked up another injury and had to be substituted by Ander Herrera.
It is still unclear how much time Fellaini will need to recover, but Mourinho talked about the issue of him signing a new deal.
“I told him yesterday: ‘Sign the contract and shut up’. I told him: ‘Don’t gamble too much. Sign the contract before you know the extent of the injury.’ It is not an ACL, a complete rupture of any structure of the knee. But we need him, the Champions League is arriving [on 21 February] and lots of tough matches to play and probably we are going to lose him for a few weeks. Two, three, four or five, I cannot say at the moment,” Mourinho revealed.
Truth be told, Fellaini’s display has not been very good this season and he is going to miss considerable game-time following this knee injury. As his contract is going to expire in July, it will not come as a surprise if the club choose to part with him. At this moment, reports suggest that the player is asking for a raise in his wage. But, considering what Mourinho said, no one can argue that a serious message has been delivered to the central midfielder and he better keep that in mind before trying to negotiate for a raise.