Jose Mourinho: I am happy as Manchester United manager

by Leo Nieboer

Jose Mourinho has responded to questions regarding whether he is happy as Manchester United manager, insisting his public persona does not adequately reflect how he feels on a daily basis.

The 55-year-old, when asked about his gloomy touchline demeanour last month, insisted that he no longer needed to behave like a clown during games after so many years of experience which sparked an infamous row with Chelsea boss Antonio Conte (who you can now get enhanced odds on being sacked).

But his behaviour on the touchline in recent years nonetheless begs the question: does Mourinho still enjoy the daily grind of life at the top?

Speaking to BT Sport, Mourinho insisted that we shouldn’t draw too many conclusions from what we see of him through the lens of a camera.

“Because people doesn’t share with me the intimacy of the inside doors,” he said. “I think I’m a funny guy sometimes, maybe with some silly jokes or something like that.”

“Press conferences? I don’t like it. Football matches? I’m focused on the match. Pre-match, after match interviews are still part of the pressure of the game so people maybe they get that wrong.

“The paparazzi that sleeps in the doorway of the Lowry Hotel. He sees me in the morning, when I’m sleeping. He sees me later when I’m going back and I’m tired. So he’s there 24 hours a day but he can’t get a nice picture!”

I spend a lot of time wondering just what goes on inside the head of Mourinho – a man whose personality and temperament has so often shaped the nature of his managerial expeditions. When the day at Carrington is done and the Portuguese retreats to his Lowry apartment, away from family and friends, what then?

He lives in a hotel so there’s no need for any cleaning, washing up, cooking, or any of those daily routines we do to occupy ourselves. The boss also noted that he doesn’t ever head into Manchester. Plenty of long nights in his apartment, then, alone with his thoughts, all the time in the world to contemplate just how to cope with the biggest job in the world.

Even Louis van Gaal, a man who you would struggle to describe as typically convivial, found a resting place in ‘Wings’, a Chinese restaurant in Lincoln Square.

But whether Mourinho is ‘happy’ is beside the point. Happiness probably wasn’t a virtue instilled in his mind as a youngster growing up in Portugal like it was for our growingly Americanised generation (even 100 years ago the notion of happiness being central to the purpose of one’s existence would have been scoffed at).

But you do hope nonetheless that the 55-year-old, as he often professes to his players, still has the ’emotional balance’ needed to survive at this level.

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