Jose Mourinho shows restraint as Manchester United’s poor form continues

  • Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho shows restraint as Manchester United’s poor form continues

Jose Mourinho showed uncharacteristic restraint and bit his tongue after Manchester United’s poor form continued with a meek goalless draw against Valencia.

Having been held at home by Wolves, knocked out of the Carabao Cup by second-tier Derby and humbled at West Ham, their winless run stretched to a fourth match as attention switched to the Champions League.

United pushed hard at the end but few would argue that Valencia did not deserve to leave Old Trafford with at least a point as Tuesday’s Group H encounter ended 0-0.

Boos greeted the final whistle as Mourinho went four consecutive home games without a victory for the first time as a manager.

“I’m pleased with the effort, I am pleased with the commitment, I am pleased with the improvement,” Mourinho said.

“And I’m not pleased, of course, with the result, which is not a good result but is not a bad result.”

Mourinho questioned how much some of his players cared about United’s poor form on the eve of the match, while his programme notes suggested his group lost their dignity at West Ham.

Such comments are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the outspoken Portuguese, but he was unusually controlled when asked if the performance against Valencia was due to dented confidence.

“I think there are things that it is difficult for me to say and if I say it’s not good for me – and even yourself would be getting another reason to criticise me,” Mourinho said.

“I think you have had enough, so I prefer just to say that when last season we finish second, we finished runners-up in the FA Cup, we won our group in the Champions League, and I told was a fantastic season, I knew why I was telling that.”

But last season’s relative successes cannot mask this season’s problems, with United great Paul Scholes labelling him “embarrassing” before the game.

“I don’t need to know what he said,” Mourinho said of Scholes. “He says what he wants to say. I’m not interested. Honestly, I’m not interested. Freedom of speech, free country, you can say what you want.”

Mourinho returned to that theme when asked about the Old Trafford faithful, who chanted “attack, attack, attack”, cheered under-performing Alexis Sanchez’s withdrawal and booed at full-time.

“Freedom of speech, especially Manchester United fans that I respect 200 per cent,” he added.

That respect does not appear to extend to local police, who the United manager blamed for their late arrival at Old Trafford and kick-off being delayed by five minutes.

“We left the hotel at six o’clock hoping that 30 minutes would be enough, which normally it is,” he said.

“But this time the police refused to do an escort, so we come by ourselves and we took from the Lowry hotel 75 minutes.

“UEFA were nice, the referee was nice to allow us to start the game five minutes later because at least we need half an hour to be prepared.

“But it was not a problem with the club organisation, we tried everything, we anticipate everything the fact that it could be dangerous – dangerous in the sense of arriving late – but we were informed the police refused an escort.”

Valencia appeared to avoid those problems and could have easily be celebrating a memorable win at Old Trafford.

Head coach Marcelino said: “The feeling I’m left with is that my team could have won.

“Losing as we did against Juve taught us how demanding this tournament is. We changed our attitude here.

“I’m proud of my team’s hard work and how competitive we were.”