Mourinho happy to have Ferguson back at Man United: ‘I wanted the players to see the big man’

In an interview for the United We Stand fanzine, Jose Mourinho talks to Andy Mitten about his decision to allow Alex Ferguson to return to the Manchester United training ground.

Jose Mourinho is happy, despite Manchester United being sixth in the table, with his early months in charge at Old Trafford. Oli Scarff / AFP
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Jose Mourinho has revealed he has invited Manchester United’s most successful manager Alex Ferguson back to the training ground several times this season.

When he retired in 2013, Ferguson told his players that they would not be seeing him about as he wanted to stay away from the work of the next manager.

While his successor David Moyes, who brings his Sunderland team to Old Trafford on Monday, regularly spoke to Ferguson in his early months in charge, the man who won 38 trophies in 26 years stayed away from the players.

United’s history had influenced his decision. When Matt Busby stepped down from the role in 1969, he retained the manager’s office at the club and remained in close contact with the players.

Subsequent managers found this difficult to deal with. United were relegated in 1974 from the First Division during that malaise, before being promoted back to the top flight the following season.

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“He had not been back since he left, but I brought him back to be with his people, to see the people he had worked with for so many years, for him to watch the training sessions,” Mourinho said of his decision in an interview with the new edition of the United We Stand fanzine.

“I wanted the players to see the big man and for me and him to share some minutes and have lunch together. I enjoyed it, he enjoyed it.

“I’m the type of person who does not see ghosts. I respect the past and I know he loves the club. We have good relations and I know this is his house.

“When he wants to come here, to the dressing room, to see the players train, he knows he is more than welcome.”

Mourinho’s side sit sixth, a position he accepts is not sufficient of a club with United’s ambitions, though his team have won their last three league matches and he maintains that he has set his side out to attack since taking charge in the summer, even when results have not been going well.

“We are getting too many draws and our results are the type a defensive team has — yet we’re not playing like a defensive team,” he said.

“They are the results of a team that is cautious and defensive and scores one goal or concedes one, but we don’t play like that.”

Mourinho insists that he has no regrets about the more attacking style.

“I’ve chosen this way to play,” he said.

“I’ve also chosen the job that I want to have and I’m in the club where I want to be. I give everything I have. I have nothing more to give in terms of my time, my desire and my ambition. I’m happy with myself.

“If I analyse myself, I had success and periods where I won titles ... but I was not fully happy with what I was doing. I felt that I could do better and give more.

“But in this moment I’m happy with what I’m doing and I’m going to chase the ultimate happiness in football, which is winning matches and winning titles.”

Mourinho also explained his current life set up, with his family living in London and him in Manchester.

He said that not only is he happy in Manchester and at United, but that he wants to stay for as long as possible and that it’ll be the club who decide when he goes, for he has no intention of leaving.

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