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Sunday 19 February 2017

Mourinho: 'I feel like the happy one again at United'

United boss aims to extend winning run as Schneiderlin prepares to leave in January

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is feeling at home at Old Trafford.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is feeling at home at Old Trafford.

Jose Mourinho explained how happy he was with his Manchester United project, acknowledging that it was "easy to feel at home" with one of the world's biggest clubs.

It was not the most comfortable nor consistent of starts for Mourinho at Old Trafford as he struggled to find his best team and the Portuguese coach often cut a distracted figure as he bemoaned the pitfalls of living alone in his Manchester hotel.

Yet after an impressive spell for his expensively-assembled team, and now with a largely injury-free squad bearing a settled look, Mourinho is looking forward to his first festive season at United with a touch of his old unassailable confidence.

Successor

"The people want to be happy again..." Mourinho said, with his side sitting in sixth place in the Premier League. "So five or six months here, (I was) really feeling at home so it was quite easy.

"Obviously, expectations are high, results up and down and we are in a position that is not where we want to be, but in terms of passion for my work and my new club, I'm feeling really happy here."

On Monday, former United manager David Moyes, who along with his successor Louis van Gaal found Alex Ferguson too hard an act to follow, makes his return to Old Trafford with his struggling Sunderland team.

Yet though Mourinho faced a similar stuttering start to this most formidable of jobs, he has guided United within four points of the top four in the Premier League and into the last 32 of the Europa League on the back of 10 undefeated matches.

Memphis Depay (left) and Morgan Schneiderlin are both set to leave Manchester United
in January.
Memphis Depay (left) and Morgan Schneiderlin are both set to leave Manchester United in January.

Revealing he had never spoken to Moyes about the United job, Mourinho recalled how he felt about finally landing a role he coveted.

"For me it was a difficult job but easy to feel at home, easy to feel good in the club, easy to feel the club has progressed," he said.

With practically a full squad available to him for the congested holiday programme, Mourinho again queried the fairness of the league's fixture schedule, with United facing a tighter programme than leaders Chelsea, who they trail by 13 points.

"The busy period is for some clubs, not for everyone, because when you analyse, there is no congestion for them (Chelsea)," Mourinho said.

Problems

"The fixtures are chosen to give some rest for some and create problems for others but we are used to it because we are in the Europa League, which creates more difficulties. So it is just more of the same."

Meanwhile, Mourinho is prepared to sanction the sale of midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin after confirming the player has told him he wishes to leave United.

The Frenchman has made only eight appearances in his second season at Old Trafford and Tony Pulis' West Brom have lodged a club-record bid for him, which is understood to be in the region of £18million.

Everton, managed by Schneiderlin's ex-Southampton boss Ronald Koeman, could also be tempted when the window reopens next month, and Mourinho admits he will not stand in his player's way while he remains on the fringes of his squad.

Asked if the 27-year-old had told him he wished to move away, Mourinho replied: "Yeah. (He's a) great professional, a fantastic boy, very honest, very open and (he) opens his heart a couple of times.

"My answer is simple: if he's playing regular with me I have the right to say, 'no way'. If he's not playing regular I have no right to tell a player that wants to be happy, I have no right to say to a player, 'you're going nowhere'.

"My answer was - if the offer is right and our board thinks that the offer is a good offer in relation to the quality of a very good player like Morgan, I would not stop him to go."

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