Jose Mourinho looks towards the stand during a match

Our exclusive interview with Jose Mourinho

Very early on Friday morning, before his pre-match press conference, Jose Mourinho sat down at the Aon Training Complex for an exclusive one-to-one interview. We discussed the Premier League match against Newcastle United at Old Trafford, the squad's injury concerns and what difficulties Rafa Benitez’s side might pose…

Jose, you’ve not had much time to prepare for the visit of Newcastle this weekend, so how have the last couple of days been for you and your squad?
“Recovering time for the players that played the game against Valencia, and good work for the others who were obviously in perfect conditions to train. Today is the first day we have all the players together. It’s the third day, and three days in between matches is more than enough to have the players ready for the weekend.”
 
Will any of the four players that were injured return to your group this weekend?
“No, it's exactly the same [squad]. No new injuries and the players that were injured are still [injured]. With the possibility for Ashley Young to be back in the squad, but Ashley was really a minor situation.”

Jose: It's crucial we beat NewcastleVideo

You said to us after the game on Tuesday that you were much more pleased with the intensity shown by your team in the game against Valencia, so how important is it they maintain that level on Saturday?
“It’s important and I think there are conditions for that. As I was saying, two days in between matches sometimes is really hard for the players, but three days, I think, gives them perfect conditions for recovery, so the players will be in good conditions for Saturday. No excuses at that level. The players will be fine and I think, of course, they understood against Valencia that normally the effort gives you a result. In this case, it didn’t give us the result we wanted, but I think it gives the players the feeling that with a big effort you are closer to winning matches.”
 
Newcastle are enduring a difficult season but they’ve shown against Spurs, Chelsea, City and Arsenal they’re really tough to break down, so how do you approach a game like that?
“Well, I think their manager said in the pre-season period that their season was not going to be an easy one, and the majority of the times the managers are right with their feelings. Rafa is one of the big ones. He knows perfectly his job and his team, and I think when he plays against the bigger teams, it gets easier for them because then he can organise the team perfectly by the defensive point of view, and obviously try in some counter-attacks, in some set pieces, to score the goal or the goals that give them the points. But by the defensive point of view, we are going to face a very difficult opponent.”
It’s two managers going head-to-head that have got an excellent tactical knowledge – do you enjoy those battles against other managers like that?
“It’s not the tactical knowledge; it’s the trophies. Because the world is full of top managers but not many have the trophies, and Rafa has the trophies.”


Last season’s match was terrific wasn’t it? You came from behind and won comfortably 4-1 but, generally, they don’t concede many goals do they?
“No. Newcastle, especially against the top teams they are, as I was saying, very, very well organised. They focus on the potential of the opposition. Sometimes Rafa plays with five, other times [they] play with two lines of four, very narrow, very compact, and it’s always difficult to play against teams with this kind of organisation. So a difficult match for us. Of course, we know that we want to win the match. Of course, we know that to win matches we have to score goals. But I think it’s going to be a difficult match.”

Newcastle's last trip to Old TraffordVideo