English Premiership

Mourinho: Man Utd can swagger to league title

2017-09-09 07:35
Jose Mourinho.(Getty Images)

London - Jose Mourinho says recent history proves it takes a defensive mindset to win the Premier League, although he insists his Manchester United side can buck that trend.

In one of his by-now frequent and thinly veiled critiques of his former club Chelsea, Mourinho pointed out that his successor Antonio Conte employed a defence-first, counter-attacking style to win last season's title.

And while the United manager says his side are capable of following that example, he also wants to ensure they play in a positive fashion.

"We try to play the best we can," Mourinho said on Friday. "We know that if you look in a pragmatic way, you see the last winners of the Premier League, they did not play attacking football.

"They played defensive football and counter-attack football. So, according to the results, that is the way to win the Premier League.

"We try to play according to the qualities of our players. We try to play positive, we try to play good, but we try to win."

United, renowned for their swashbuckling style under former manager Alex Ferguson, have made a strong start to the Premier League season, winning their opening three games and scoring 10 goals in the process to top the table.

But, talking at United's Carrington training ground on the eve of a potentially difficult visit to Stoke City, Mourinho insisted his team are not afraid of a hard, defensive battle.

"If one day to win we have to play defensive football, we have to do it," said Mourinho.

"If we go to Stoke and Stoke in some moments of the match, they put us under pressure and they are dominant, we have to be humble and we have to be pragmatic and we have to face the reality.

"If you ask me, are we going to go there and play with seven at the back, like some teams do, five plus two? No, we're not going to do that. We're going to try and play well and score goals.

"But if our opponent is better than us and dominant, we are humble enough to transform our way of playing to play for a result."

Mourinho has praised the club's management for leaving him with a stable squad, in contrast to a number of United's rivals who have struggled with the distractions created by big-name stars coming to the end of their contracts.

United have employed a policy of adding an additional, optional year at the end of all deals, meaning that the only players currently with less than 12 months remaining on their contracts are veterans Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Michael Carrick.

Mourinho also praised Everton manager Ronald Koeman for his handling of the controversy surrounding former United club captain Wayne Rooney following his arrest and charge for a drink-driving offence.

"I'm really happy that Ronald Koeman thinks in this simple way that I do too and has already said he's going to play tomorrow," said Mourinho.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
Saturday, 30 September 2017
Huddersfield Town v Tottenham Hotspur, The John Smith's Stadium 13:30
Stoke City v Southampton, Bet365 Stadium 16:00
West Ham United v Swansea City, London Stadium 16:00
Manchester United v Crystal Palace, Old Trafford 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Watford, The Hawthorns 16:00
AFC Bournemouth v Leicester City, Vitality Stadium 16:00
Chelsea v Manchester City, Stamford Bridge 18:30
Sunday, 01 October 2017
Arsenal v Brighton & Hove Albion, Emirates Stadium 13:00
Everton v Burnley, Goodison Park 15:15
Newcastle United v Liverpool, St. James' Park 17:30
Saturday, 14 October 2017
Liverpool v Manchester United, Anfield 13:30
Manchester City v Stoke City, Etihad Stadium 16:00
Swansea City v Huddersfield Town, Liberty Stadium 16:00
Crystal Palace v Chelsea, Selhurst Park 16:00
Burnley v West Ham United, Turf Moor 16:00
Tottenham Hotspur v AFC Bournemouth, Wembley Stadium 16:00
Watford v Arsenal, Vicarage Road Stadium 18:30
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2017/18 season?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2017/18 PSL season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.