José Mourinho commits to Manchester United until 2020
Portuguese manager has signed a new contract which also includes option of extra year
José Mourinho took charge of Manchester United in May 2016. Photograph: Manchester United/Man Utd via Getty Images
José Mourinho has signed an extension to his contract at Manchester United in a move that sees him commit his future to the club until at least 2020, with the option of activating a further year.
United won the Europa League in the Portuguese’s maiden season with the club last term, to become the first manager to win a major trophy in his first year in charge. United are second in the Premier League, behind rivals Manchester City.
“José has already achieved a great deal as Manchester United manager and I am delighted that he has agreed to extend his commitment until at least 2020,” said executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward. “His work rate and professionalism are exceptional and he has embraced the club’s desire to promote top quality young players to the first team. He has brought an energy and a sense of purpose to everything that he does and I am sure that will continue to bring results for the fans and the club.”
Mourinho said: “I am really honoured and proud to be Manchester United manager. I would like to say a big thank you to the owners and to Mr Woodward for the recognition of my hard work and dedication. I am delighted they feel and trust that I am the right manager for this great club for the foreseeable future.”
Mourinho has confirmed Alexis Sánchez will go straight into the Manchester United squad for Friday’s FA Cup tie at Yeovil and believes “one of the best attacking players in the world” can only complement an already impressive front line.
“We now have five attacking players of high quality,” the United manager said. “To be able to choose from Mata, Rashford, Lukaku, Martial and now Alexis is fantastic for me and the team. Not everyone will be able to play at the same time but that is life at a big club; you cannot compete in a serious way with just 11 players, it is impossible. We want to improve all the time, we want to achieve big things and we will not stop until we do that. Players at big clubs have to accept competition for places. They might not like finding themselves on the bench some days but I am happy with that.”
Sánchez arrived at Old Trafford this week in a straight swap with Arsenal for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, a deal Mourinho described as “fantastic” for both clubs. “The deal is good for everybody,” he said. “I lost a fantastic player, so did Mr Wenger. Mkhi has gone to a fantastic club and Alexis changed from a fantastic club to a giant club.
“I believe Mkhi is going to be even better than he was with us. He has had one and a half years in England now and he should fit in with the way Arsenal play and think. Could he have performed better for us, could I have got more from his talent? Maybe. Maybe too he could have given a little more to adapt to us, but I don’t have any regrets, he’s in our history now and we have a player who can operate anywhere in the attacking positions.
“I have known Alexis for many years. I was in Italy when he was at Udinese, I was in Spain when he was at Barcelona and in England when he was at Arsenal. He can play on the left and on the right, as a striker and behind the striker. So he can play in four different positions, and as we have all seen, Alex has been successful in every role, in every country, for every manager. We want the best players possible and he is one of the best attacking players in the world.”
So is Cristiano Ronaldo, though Mourinho was unwilling to add to speculation that a possible return to United might be on the cards. “I think with the moment Real Madrid are having now I should be the last one to add fuel to the fire,” the United manager said. “I care about the club, I worked there for three years, so to put water on the fire instead I would say Cristiano is the kind of player every manager and club wants but only Zidane and Real Madrid can have him.” – Guardian service