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Q&A: Jose on Brighton, Hughton and Lingard's loan

With Manchester United preparing to face Brighton & Hove Albion on Friday night, Helen Evans spoke exclusively to Jose Mourinho at the Aon Training Complex to gain an insight into the manager’s preparations. Check out what the boss had to say…

A win on Friday night would put us in an even stronger position to finish in second place, which would be our highest finish for five years. You must be pleased with that progress? 
“I’m pleased but not totally happy. I want more, but I know if we manage second – from sixth to second, from X number of points to Z number of points, better performances, much better results against the top teams, I think I can consider it a positive season in the Premier League.”
The manager has heaped praise on Brighton's Chris Hughton ahead of Friday night's match
It’s your first visit to the Amex Stadium and you’re going into the game with a good record against Brighton this season. Does that give your side confidence?
“No, we played them at home twice – in the FA Cup and Premier League. We beat them twice but they were not easy matches at all. I think they are a good team and they are capable of giving us a difficult match. They are not desperate – I think their position is good enough. I don’t think they need more points to survive. They just need mathematical confirmation, but they survive very well all season. We need four points in three matches [to finish second], so if we can leave Brighton in a better position, that’s good.”

Does Chris Hughton get the credit he deserves for the job he’s done?
“From myself, yes. From the football industry, I don’t know. I’m sure he does from his own club, which is the most important thing – from his players, and his fans. I don’t know if he has a good PR as other guys have and creates better situations for himself. But I know that he’s a good manager, a good coach, a good guy and I’m really pleased for him.”

Are Brighton a team you would like to stay in the Premier League?
“Yes, because they play well, they compete, they have a beautiful stadium and beautiful atmosphere at home. Personally, I like Chris and in football I am much more for friends than for clubs. So, yes I would like them to do that.”

Early team news from Chris HughtonVideo

One player who will be looking forward to going back there is Jesse Lingard, who played 17 times on loan at Brighton. What are your thoughts on the loan process for a young player?
“For me, the loan is to play. If they go out on loan and don’t play, it’s better to stay at the parent club, so for me, that’s the point and objective of a loan. I don’t believe in the loan just to do, as some people used to say, as a man outside the parent club, I believe the loan is to play and have more minutes than you have in the club. Sometimes the loan club choice is the wrong one because sometimes players, parents, agents want a more fashionable loan – a club with a different name, a club in the Premier League, a club in an amazing league, then they go there and play even less than in the parent club. So sometimes it’s better to go a level down and be humble in their choice, but get the objective of playing football. I think Jesse’s loans were Brighton, Birmingham and Derby County, so all those loans were to go and play football. He then came back and played a little bit with Mr van Gaal and then a lot with me and now he’s a stable Manchester United player.”
Jesse Lingard enhanced his education during a loan spell at Brighton & Hove Albion
We’re into the last month of the season. In terms of the league standings, is there anything that has surprised you about the way the table looks at the moment?
“I would never believe that Southampton are in the position they are [struggling near the bottom]. It’s very strange because they have good players and are a good club with a good structure. They had a good season last season and I never thought they could be in this situation. The profile of the teams – West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City – who have experienced players who are adapted to the Premier League, it’s quite surprising they are in this position for me too. But that’s the Premier League. In relation to the top six, we have all changed positions in relation to last season, so [Manchester] City were third but are now first and we were sixth and are now second. Chelsea were champions and are now fifth. Liverpool were fourth and are third in this moment and Tottenham as well are different. We have all changed positions but the same top six are there. Of course, very good seasons for Burnley and Newcastle. Bournemouth are stable in the zone where they want to be, but a very stable and very solid championship.”

The latest injury update on LukakuVideo

Finally, is there any fresh injury news ahead of the game?
“Romelu is injured. Of course, he cannot play this game against Brighton but let’s see the improvement.” 

Brighton v United kicks off at 20:00 BST and MUTV will be live from 18:00.