Jose Mourinho says his struggles at Manchester United were down to the “players, organisation and ambition” of the club as he denied suggestions Paul Pogba was to blame for his sacking.
The Portuguese coach was sacked in December after a poor start to his third season in charge. Mourinho’s time at United was reportedly plagued by issues and fall-outs with members of his playing squad, with clashes with Pogba frequently referred to in public.
Although the Red Devils’ form picked up once Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed as his replacement, their performances dipped again toward the end of the season and they ended up finishing sixth in the Premier League.
United’s underwhelming end to the campaign has underlined the need for reinvestment in the squad, but there has been renewed talk of stars such as Pogba looking for summer moves.
And Mourinho says United have serious issues that prevented him from achieving his objectives, saying there was more to blame than his bad relationship with the star midfielder.
Asked by L’Equipe if he was a victim of Pogba, Mourinho said: “No, no. The problems are there, you can imagine that the problems are the players, the organisation, the ambition. I will only say that I cannot say ‘yes’ when you ask if Paul was the only one responsible.”
He added: “On Man United, I only want to say two things. One is that time has spoken. Two, it’s the the problems are still there.”
The former Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid boss also had a tough time with getting the best out of Anthony Martial, who struggled to break into the team but has since signed a five-year contract extension with the club.
The 56-year-old says his tense relationship with Martial was different to the one he had with Karim Benzema at Madrid.
“With Karim, there was no conflict – I only wanted to help the player, who is incredibly talented – to change his mentality, to help him reach his maximum,” he said. “To become a killer, a decisive centre forward. I liked working with Karim a lot.
“Martial is a boy with a different personality. The thing I can say is that I hope he will reach a level of the measure of his potential.”
One of the highlights of the season for the English side was their Champions League comeback against Paris Saint-Germain. After losing 2-0 at home in the first-leg, United sealed a spot in the quarter-finals with a 3-1 win in France.
And Mourinho suggested the victory was a bit of a freak incident for the club, saying: “I don’t want to explain it. I think I know the reasons, but I’m not going to make my analysis public. I don’t want to speak about United.
“For Man United, this victory was a bit out of context, even though we won in Turin in the group stage. For PSG, I think I know the reason, tactically and mentally.”