Friday 9 December 2016 17:47, UK
Jose Mourinho vents his early-season frustrations and plots Manchester United's recovery in an exclusive interview Sky Sports' Geoff Shreeves.
Fresh from sealing their place in the knockout stages of the Europa League, Mourinho's men turn their attention to their stuttering Premier League campaign when Tottenham travel to Old Trafford on Super Sunday.
It's a game which presents United with the opportunity to bridge the gap on the sides above them, while arresting a run of three Premier League games without a victory.
Ahead of entertaining Mauricio Pochettino's side, Geoff Shreeves caught up with the United boss in bullish mood as he reflected on the opening 14 games of the season and looked forward to a hectic festive period.
SHREEVES: Can a Europa League win help you kick on in the Premier League?
JOSE: "I think no relation, independent competitions. We separate things but in the Premier League we are playing very well so we hope for that continuity in the quality of our game."
SHREEVES: How frustrated are you? Playing well but not getting results you want.
JOSE: "I am very happy with the evolution of the team. I am very happy with the difference between the team I got and the team which is playing now and I keep saying the same: when you play very, very well you can expect good things to arrive so no frustration, just hope."
SHREEVES: Is there a feeling of 'when is this going to happen for us?' Goalkeepers have been man of the match, you have peppered their goal and it just hasn't happened. Do you not find that frustrating?
JOSE: "I find it unfair, I find that we should have much more points than we have because you look at the table it looks like other teams are better than us, which in my opinion is not true. So many draws when we deserved victories. If you could transform these draws into victories we would be very close to the top of the league, in between the top three or top four so I find more unfair but there is only one way - keep working."
SHREEVES: Does the size of the gap worry you?
JOSE: "I don't think I'm worried too much, I think about the evolution of the team, the quality of the team, the quality of the players and let's see what happens."
SHREEVES: What is pleasing you about the team?
JOSE: "The dominancy, the quality, the beauty of our football, the objective of our football. We are not a team that defends and waits for an opponent mistake. I know [how] to build these teams, I did before and being very pragmatic that was not our choice. That is not something that Manchester United fans and owners want, that is not something I want for this project so we are going in a different direction and we are not going to change."
SHREEVES: Are you where you expected to be in terms of rebuilding the team?
JOSE: "In terms of the quality of our game and the organisation of our football I think we are above what I would expect. The evolution was really good. In terms of results, I am used to different results. I am used to different kind of profile of team, a team that scores one goal and doesn't concede, a team that is very efficient and not in need of so much ball possession and control to have opportunities to score and score. I am just a bit disappointed with that because I see teams in the Premier League they are not comparable to us in terms of the quality of their game and they have much more points than us."
SHREEVES: How convinced are you that you will turn the corner?
JOSE: "Totally convinced."
JOSE: "I don't know, maybe Sunday. We need to score more goals than the opponent. It is as simple as that. We are better than them, we play better than them, we have the ball, the opportunities and the dominance. We need lots of opportunities to score goals, we don't. And we concede even from naïve situations or situations completely unexpected. If I compare the game at Everton with the game in Odessa, the difference was [Ander] Herrera hit the post and would be 2-0 and Zlatan scored the second goal yesterday and it was 2-0. With 2-0 there is no last minute penalty and details make the difference and the team is playing well."
SHREEVES: As a coach is there anything else you can do but just tell players to keep doing what they are doing and results will come?
JOSE: "Yes, exactly, I've had teams with bad results and bad performances and it is much more difficult because you are not sure of what you want, you have doubts, you have lots of questions marks. You question yourself if it is the best way to follow and question yourself if change is needed to try to play better because to play better brings you better results. In this case it is easier because there are no doubts. We play well, the organisation is good, the players are happy with the way we play, they believe in what we do so it is much easier and it is just a wait for a better moment and a better moment will come."
SHREEVES: Do you say to the players relax and it will come?
JOSE: "I say it all the time. I think it is important but it is also important to understand that you have always something more to give, always a little bit of extra piece of effort to give, a little bit more concentration, try to reduce your minimum mistakes because in this moment we are being punished for all of our mistakes. So if we are punished by every mistake we make we have to try to reduce them."
SHREEVES: Do you need a win against Spurs to build momentum?
JOSE: "We've had wins, maybe momentum is also built with the fact you don't lose matches and we are not losing. Maybe momentum is built on you feeling you are better than your opponents and we are feeling this match after match, that we are better than our opponents. There are different ways to build momentum but obviously if you can play well, be better than your opponents and get the three points it is the best way."
SHREEVES: Thoughts on the Tottenham game?
JOSE: "Very difficult, they are a very good team. Probably the first team that we play for a few weeks that will try to divide with us the control of the match because the others have had to accept our dominancy and I don't think this is Tottenham's style. They play really well, they try to be dominant. I think they played a phenomenal first half against Chelsea and I think this is Tottenham. They are a very good team."
SHREEVES: Are they a reflection of their manager Mauricio Pochettino?
JOSE: "He's a very good coach, he knows what he wants, he is very stable at the club and he has been building the team for a couple years now. A good manager with good players normally makes a good team."
SHREEVES: Does the idea, 'We can't afford to be much further back or this gap may become unbridgeable' come into your thinking?
JOSE: "That's football, we try our best we work hard. We landed yesterday at 4am and we were here again at 10am. This is what we do. Normally the results go to the ends of people who work for it and that's what we do."
Watch Manchester United v Tottenham live on Super Sunday, 2pm, Sky Sports 1 HD