The Jose Mourinho haters among us need to have a seat before reading any further, otherwise you’ll probably hit the floor laughing.
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Are you sitting down yet? If not, you can’t say you weren’t warned. Here goes…
Mourinho says he’s “matured” and is “more at peace” with his career, and how it affects his everyday life as a person and a family man, since he began his managerial career with Benfica in 2000, and even since he burst onto the Premier League scene with Chelsea in 2004.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with France Football, to be published on Tuesday, “at peace” does sound a decent way to describe the first-year Manchester United boss’s present mindset — translated quotes via the Guardian:
“Mourinho the man tries to be the opposite of what the manager is. He tries to be discreet and calm. To find a way to disconnect. I can go home and not watch a football match, not think about football. I can do that. At the start of my career, I couldn’t. I was switched on 24 hours a day. I had to find a kind of maturity. Today I feel comfortable with my personality as a man.
“I’ve matured, I’m more at peace. A win no longer represents the moon to me, and a defeat no longer means hell. And I think I can transmit that serenity to the people who work with me, my players. I have the same ambitions as before, the same involvement and the same professionalism. But I am more in control of my emotions.”
Mourinho goes on to say the mentality of everyone at the club is similarly mature, which is something that has surely played a massive part in his first season at Old Trafford being so… uneventful, in the ways seasons with Mourinho are so typically not. Without the towering personalities of Man United legends that controlled the club in years and decades past, the fight to stake one’s claim as the club’s alpha male has been largely nonexistent. Even Wayne Rooney, United and England’s all-time leading scorer, has accepted his new reality as a squad player at the age of 31.
“You have to adapt to a club’s reality, needs and demands. That means being intelligent. … The priority is to establish relationships of love and peace in a group, to create stability. Manchester United no longer has the super personalities that were Giggs, Scholes or Roy Keane.
“Rooney and Carrick are still here and they are the last remnants of that generation, and then there is a new group of players that has to adapt. That’s why it was important for me to bring in Zlatan [Ibrahimovic]. In this team, and without being English and knowing the culture of the club, he had the personality and profile to be more than just a player.”
The intangibles seem a real positive around United at the moment, which should spark hope during the final weeks of the 2016-17, but more importantly, for what is possible during Mourinho’s second season in charge.