'I am not to blame' for Ryan Giggs' exit insists Jose Mourinho
JOSE MOURINHO insists he is not to blame for Ryan Giggs' departure from Manchester United.
And the new United manager promised not to waste the goalscoring talents of Wayne Rooney as he conducted his first press conference at Old Trafford since succeeding Louis van Gaal. The long-serving Giggs left United last weekend after almost 29 years as a player and coach at the club.
Former Chelsea boss Mourinho says he would have been happy for Giggs, who spent two years as assistant-manager to Van Gaal, to stay in some capacity, but the Welshman himself wanted to move on.
Mourinho said: "It is not my responsibility that Ryan is not in the club. The job Ryan wanted is the job the club decided to give me. It is not my fault. Ryan wanted to be Man United manager and the club, for reasons only the owners, Mr Woodward, the board can tell you, decided the job was for me.
"From this moment, Ryan wants to be a manager, like in 2000 when I decided I wanted to be a manager. For many of us, we start as assistant-coaches and then arrives the moment where we make a decision. Ryan made his decision.
"When you say did I offer him a job, could he be my assistant - he could be what he wanted in the club. The club wanted to give him any important job in the club. But he made his decision, a decision where he needed to be brave.
"Good luck and, if one day he wants to come back while I am here, I will never stop him coming back. I will always say yes if the club asks my opinion. If one day, the club offers him the chance to become manager, I think it will be something natural and the consequence of his success in his managerial career."
Mourinho accepts United captain Rooney may no longer have some of the edge of his youth, but does not believe he should be deployed in midfield. That had begun to happen under Van Gaal and the 30-year-old also played in a deep role for England at Euro 2016.
Mourinho said: "Players change during the years. It is normal that a player, at this age, changes a little bit.
"But there is something that will never change, which is the natural appetite to put the ball in the net. So maybe he is not a striker any more, maybe not a number nine any more but, with me, he will never be a number six. He will never be someone playing 50 metres away from the goal.
"Yes, his passes are amazing, but my passes are also amazing with no pressure. To put the ball in the net is the most difficult thing to find so, for me, he will be a number nine, a 10, a nine-and-a-half - but not a six, not even an eight."
Mourinho famously branded himself the 'Special One' when he began his first spell at Chelsea and the 'Happy One' when he returned for a second spell. When asked how he felt at the start of his latest role, the Portuguese said: "I don't know really."
But he went on to state he intended to be forceful in his approach: "What is 'playing well'? It is scoring more goals than the opponents, conceding less, making your fans proud because you give everything and you win.
"It is everything at the same time. It is an aggressive approach by myself. I want everything. Of course, we are not going to get everything, but we want to."
Mourinho came prepared for a question about youth players, determined to quash the perception he does not promote players from within. The 53-year-old produced a piece of paper on which he claimed he had written a list of the 49 young players to whom he had given an opportunity during his managerial career.
Mourinho, who has also had spells in charge at Porto, Inter Milan and Real Madrid, said: "I never promote players because of need - I did it because of conviction and decision. I did 49 - some of them are big names, they are Champions League winners, in the Euros, playing for national teams.
"One lie repeated many times sometimes looks true, but it will never be true. If you want the names, I give you the names."
Mourinho all but confirmed United have completed a deal for Henrikh Mkhitaryan by saying the club have signed three of his four targets - the first two being Eric Bailly and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He did not identify his fourth target, but Juventus' France midfielder Paul Pogba has been heavily linked with a return to Old Trafford.
"We are not going to get the fourth on August 31 - we will get the fourth before then," Mourinho said.
Mourinho is returning to management after being sacked by Chelsea following a dramatic slump last year: "The reality I was in trouble for the last five months. The first month was fine, the second was not so good and after that was a disaster," he said.