Football/Soccer

Jose Mourinho proud of his Manchester United tenure

Ole Gunner Solskjaer was announced on Wednesday morning as Manchester United's interim manager until the end of the season
By Simon Peach, PA Chief Football Writer

JOSE Mourinho is immensely proud of his time as Manchester United manager but would not delve into the issues that played a part in Old Trafford exit.

United shocked the footballing world on Tuesday by calling time on the Portuguese's two-and-a-half years at the club, having overseen their worst start to a Premier League season.

Mourinho lifted the Europa League, EFL Cup and Community Shield in his first year at the club before finishing runners-up in both the league and FA Cup, but things have unravelled since the start of his third campaign at the helm.

The United boss has made his frustrations about players and the club's decisions clear over recent months, but kept his feelings on such matters to himself in a statement released the day after his sacking.

"I have been immensely proud to wear the badge of Manchester United since the first day I arrived, and I believe all United supporters recognise this," Mourinho said in a statement released to Press Association Sport.

"Just as was the case with my previous clubs, I have worked with some wonderful people and I believe that some will be my friends for life.

"I know that you are all aware of my professional principles. Each time a chapter is closed I show my deepest respect and I don't make any comments about my former colleagues.

"I hope the media will also respect my position and let me live my normal life until the moment I decide to return to football. Merry Christmas."

Mourinho also spoke briefly to Sky Sports News on Wednesday, having been doorstepped near his London home.

Like in his statement, the Portuguese refused to speak in detail about what happened at United – "it's game over," he said – and focused on the future, with talk of a return to Real Madrid rumbling on.

"I keep the good things and I don't speak about anything that happened in the club," Mourinho said.

"We could speak about so many good things, we could speak about not as good (things), but that's not me. It's finished.

"Manchester United has a future without me and I have a future without Manchester United, so why should I now be sharing with you or even with the supporters any of my feelings.

"It's over and that's me and that's the way I have always been."

Mourinho was fired three years and a day after being sacked by Chelsea, who he left for the second time with their dreadful Premier League title defence underpinned by "palpable discord".

United were in a better state than the Blues on the field, although the 11-point gap to the top four was as concerning as the 19 points to leaders Liverpool after a mere 17 matches.

Press Association Sport understands the style and substance under Mourinho was concerning the United hierarchy, with the powers that be worried by the lack of development being made with new signings and young players.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will now take temporary charge at Old Trafford until next summer, when the club will appoint a full-time successor. Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino is the current front-runner.

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