Mourinho keen to see out United contract

Reuters
Mourinho believes the pressure to deliver his first league title at United this season is harsh as it faces fierce competition from City, Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool.
Reuters
Reuters

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho looks dejected during the English Premier League match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in London in this November 5, 2017, photo. Chelsea won 1-0.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has refused to commit his long-term future at Old Trafford, saying he is focused on improving the team and winning the English Premier League title before the end of his three-year contract.

The 54-year-old Portuguese is nearing the halfway point of his deal and guided United to the League Cup and Europa League titles in his first season.

"I signed a three-year contract and when I signed that three-year contract it was basically to try and improve the direction of the football team," he told the Daily Mirror.

"And obviously when we want to improve the direction of the football team, it means to try and win titles which we did already last season.

"But when we speak about titles, everyone obviously thinks about the Premier League."

United, second in the league table, has made its best start in the league since the 2012-13 title-winning season under Alex Ferguson but it is eight points behind Manchester City.

Mourinho believes the pressure to deliver his first league title at United this season is harsh as they are facing fierce competition from City, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool.

"Of course, it is an objective but to say the only way we are improving is to win the Premier League is not quite fair because the other teams, the other five or six teams, have the same objectives, the same responsibility," he added.

"They have the same qualities to do it, or even more because they have the stability over the past three years."

Mourinho confirmed striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic could return to action for United before the end of the year.

The 36-year-old Swede has not played since suffering a knee ligament injury in April.

"He is a lion, he is a fighter... he has the anger all the time and that's the reason why he's almost coming back," Mourinho said.

"He's reduced the timing of his recovery and he will be back in 2017, which is a magnificent recovery."

Meanwhile,  Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has played down reports that his position will be reviewed at the end of the season and said he plans to see out his contract at the EPL club.

The Frenchman, who extended his 21-year stay at the club by signing a new two-year contract in May, said at the club's annual general meeting last month that he sat down with the board at the end of every season.

He told beIN Sports that his comments had been misinterpreted.

"I said I sit down with the board at the end of every season and see where we go from there, so that's not exactly the same," Wenger said.

"Sometimes you will say a sentence and people will turn it the way we would like to go.

"I have a two-year contract and I will always try to go the end of my contract, but I always have the honesty to sit down with the board and to see where we go from there. That's quite simple."

Arsenal, which is sixth in the league, hosts third-placed Tottenham in a tightly-contested north London derby on Saturday.

Wenger also said that new deals or transfers for key players midfielder Mesut Ozil and forward Alexis Sanchez, whose contracts expire at the end of the season, would be sorted out only in December.

"No decision has been made on that front — do we let anybody go in January or not? We'll have to think about that to see where we stand at the end of December," he said.


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