Manchester United play Southampton in the Premier League’s first ever official Friday fixture. Ahead of the game, Jose Mourinho spoke to the media and adressed some key points in his press conference. Here are some of them:
1. Jose Mourinho expects Zlatan Ibrahimovic to be at Manchester United for more than one season.
Ibrahimovic signed for United this summer on a one-year basis with an option to extend a further year, and Mourinho is positive he will remain at the club beyond the summer.
“I see him happy,” insisted Mourinho. “I ask about his family, his wife, his kids – I know how important these things are to him – integration, house and everything is fine and everybody is happy. He has a very high motivation, so I see him here, no doubts, for the next two years.”
2. Jose does not care about Fonte rumours.
Mourinho dismissed questions about United’s reported interest in Southampton captain Jose Fonte, saying he does not talk about players of other clubs and he is very happy with what the club have done this summer.
“I don’t care and I don’t want to comment. The market is open until 31 August, but I am very happy with the players I have. I keep saying that I don’t talk about players from other clubs.”
3. Pogba ready to make second United debut.
United’s world-record signing Paul Pogba missed the first game due to a suspension carried forward from Italy, but Mourinho confirmed that the 23-year-old is ready to make his second debut for the club at Old Trafford on Friday.
“We played against Leicester with players with less training than him and we saw that match as a way to improve them. With Paul it’s a bit the same – not one single minute of any pre-season match but almost two weeks of work with us, sometimes with the group, sometimes separately, and the condition is okay to play some minutes.”
4. Smalling is fit.
The manager confirmed that center-back Chris Smalling is now fit and ready to play after being forced to sit out the first two games due to suspension and injury.
5. Fans’ relationship with players can bring Old Trafford’s fear factor back.
Mourinho urged United fans to be as loud as possible, and get behind the team as much as possible when they play at home. Old Trafford has lost its fear factor since Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down, but Mourinho believes that can be brought back if the fans and the players have a good relationship.
Asked if he could bring the fear factor back to the Theatre of Dreams, he said:
“Not me, but the team, yes. The fans can also help. Everything starts there: the relationship between the team and the fans. If there is a connection then the factor of being really strong at home has to back. The way we play [will help] and if the fans play [a part] there’ll be no chance for the opponent.”