Following Jose Mourinho’s first press conference as Manchester United manager yesterday, supporters were understandably excited by his comments.
The Portuguese manager spoke about his philosophy during the interview, as he plans on playing ‘intense’ and ‘risk’ football.
"Yes, we want to play different than the last season. Mr. Van Gaal is absolutely a top manager and his philosophy is very clear,” he told MUTV.
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"My philosophy is different, it’s not better, it’s different. My football is different.
"I am a lot more vertical, I am more intense. I like the ball possession as a way to create a chance to be vertical, I don’t like it just to keep statistically possession of the ball.
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"I’m not afraid to play a game with transitions, they will always come during the game, and I am not afraid to lose the ball, I’m not afraid of risk.”
But Mourinho hasn’t always wanted to play exciting football.
Mourinho wanted war
That’s according to Barcelona legend Xavi, who claims that the Special One only ‘wanted war’ during his time at the Bernabeu.
“Mourinho seemed annoyed by the search for peace. He wanted war and we wanted football,” the midfielder told AS, per Football Espana.
Mourinho's relationship with Casillas
Mourinho’s three seasons at Madrid didn’t pass without some feuds, either - most notably in the form of Iker Casillas. The goalkeeper disagreed with Mourinho’s philosophy and didn’t want to be seen to be ‘at war’ with his Spanish teammates in the Barcelona line-up.
And Xavi believes that Mourinho’s and Casillas' differing attitudes resulted in Madrid fans falling out of love with the iconic ‘keeper.
"Iker’s attempt to stop this war cost him dearly with a sector of Madrid. Some people haven’t forgiven us. Iker called me to tell me everything, apologising for 200 things. I apologised for the other 200 and, finally, we reached an agreement,” he added.
But Xavi claimed that, fortunately, he never felt the full force of Mourinho’s war-like side during matches.
“War wounds? A few, but I played fast, one touch or two. And if not, I turned. I wasn’t quick, skilful or strong. I was always looking for space, survival. If I had been like Paul Pogba it would be different,” he admitted.
Mourinho vs Guardiola Part II
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Mourinho attempt to launch another war on Pep Guardiola with the former Barcelona boss occupying the Manchester City hot seat next season.
And Mourinho is busy assembling his army. Eric Bailly and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have already been confirmed with Henrikh Mkhitaryan arriving imminently.
But it seems he is keen to add a central force to his side with Paul Pogba being heavily linked to become the fourth arrival in the Mourinho era.
If Madrid and Barcelona were involved in a war during Mourinho’s guidance, expect an even bigger battle between the two Manchester clubs next term.