Q&A: Jose on his squad, preparations & Wolves
Before his press conference on Friday, Jose Mourinho sat down with us for an exclusive one-on-one interview to discuss his Manchester United squad, the team's preparations during a busy schedule and, of course, Saturday's opponents Wolverhampton Wanderers...
Firstly, Jose, how pleased were you with both the performance and the result against Young Boys on Wednesday night?
“I was happy with the result, the collective performance and individual performances. We can speak about the pitch now – it was really, really difficult from the technical point of view and also the physical point of view. It was normal that in the first 15 to 20 minutes the opposition was more comfortable than us, but the team kept balance and organisation on the whole. The result was important for us – it’s such a difficult group and, in the two games against Young Boys, it’s compulsory to get six points.”
Obviously, on a pitch like that, we were worried about picking up injuries. How is the squad ahead of Saturday’s game?
“There are small things but nothing important. At this moment, Marcos Rojo is not training with the team, but [Ander] Herrera is in the final phase of his recovery. Apart from them [and the suspended players], everyone is ready.”
What have you made of the start that Wolves have made to the season since being promoted to the Premier League?
“Really good. I think this happens more now than before, where teams from the Championship are much closer to Premier League level, so when they are promoted, a few new signings and they are ready for the Premier League. Before, 10 or 20 years ago, [it was] much more difficult and there was a big distance between the two competitions, so the teams that were promoted were probably more in trouble the next season. Now, it’s totally different. Wolverhampton had a very good season last season, huge investment [for] two consecutive seasons, lots of experienced players, very good team.”
What do you make of the make-up of their squad right now?
“They have good young Portuguese players – they knew how to invest in the good young Portuguese players – but they also have a couple of really experienced players like the keeper [Rui Patricio] and [Joao] Moutinho – experienced players with 80 or 90 caps for Portugal and over 30 years old. They also brought that stability to the team, so I think it was a very intelligent way to do their market."
Players like Diogo Jota and Ruben Neves have really been making the headlines and attracting attention for their performances. They’re really good prospects, aren’t they?
“They did a very good Championship and they are in the Premier League playing well and getting good results. They deserve their credit.”
What are the dangers of playing a newly promoted team who have come up on the crest of a wave and are full of confidence?
"They have a winning mentality from the Championship and they arrive in the Premier League getting good results. Even against the champions [Manchester City], they had a positive result [a 1-1 draw at home] and a very good performance, so confidence is high and they’re a very difficult opponent for us.
Just finally, it’s such a busy schedule for us at the moment. What is your preparation like game by game during periods like this?
"The two days in between [games] are hard. When you have three days, it’s much easier and you have one day to work tactically. When you have two days, it’s much, much, much more difficult because everything is about recovering from the match and then preparing for the next one. But the team is finding stability and confidence levels are important. We're back at home after three away wins, and I think the atmosphere will be very positive for us. We know it’s going to be difficult but we are confident.