Jose Mourinho has made it clear that he has no intentions of leaving Manchester United, insisting he wants to remain at the club for longer than three years.
Several reports back in November claimed that the Portuguese was being lined up as Paris Saint Germain’s next manager.
The 54-year-old rubbished such talk, but recent reports have claimed that the club’s hierarchy is concerned he has lost the appetite for the Man United job and could leave at the end of the season.
But Mourinho, speaking at a press conference ahead of the clash with Derby County, described the recent reports as ‘garbage’.
“Look, it depends on what you want to know and what you want to speak about, if you want to speak about some news I say garbage, I don’t find a better word to define the talk,” he said.
“If you want to ask me directly, which I suppose you won’t, if I see myself next season in Manchester United, I say I see myself and as I told when I arrived, I’m going to leave when the club wants me to leave because I have no intention to leave at all. My intention is to stay and to work and to improve and to bring the club where to the club belongs. And I want to stay.
“And I don’t see any reason not to stay. I still have a contract – in fact I am in the middle of my contract, not in the last couple of months, I am in the middle of my contract – and my desire is to stay until the owners and the board is happy with my work.
“Speaking about my work and connecting my work to the garbage news is to say the worst thing anyone can do to myself, is not to say that I am a bad manager, is not to say I am under performing, not to say I made a mistake in this game or that game.
“The worst thing someone can do is put one inch of doubt into my professionalism, my dedication to my club, my job, my players, to every detail related to my job, so yes the garbage news affected me just on this aspect because it’s something I don’t admit.
“But again I repeat I am in the middle of my contract, if I am going to sign a new one or not it depends on the club but my commitment with the club is total and I want to stay.
“I see myself here (after three years), is just a question of the club, the board the owners, Mr Woodward, they are all happy with my contribution and they want me to stay beyond the end of this contract, he said.
“Because I don’t behave as a clown on the touchline it means I lost my passion? I prefer to behave the way I am doing it, much more mature, better for my team and myself, you don’t have to behave like a crazy guy on the touchline to have that passion. That passion you see it every day.
The way a person is dedicated to his work, not what you do in front of the cameras.”
As the camera pans to Mourinho’s surly, contemplative figure, standing there in a way to suggest he’s seen it all before, we have all wondered to ourselves at some point whether the fire still burns bright in his belly. Whether, after all these years, he still wants it just as much as when he descended on these shores for the first time in 2004.
He has certainly started to contain himself, at least on the outside, referring to the importance of ’emotional balance’ while the likes of Pep Guardiola, Antonio Conte and Jurgen Klopp dance around the technical area all game.
Beneath the surface, though, he is as indefatigable, stubborn, and driven as ever, not put off by the project across town but instead fiercely behind his players, his club, willing to shoot down anyone – Paul Scholes, for example – he deems a threat to his cause.
Hated, adored, but never ignored. Never doubt that Mourinho is a proper United manager.