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José Mourinho talks tactics, maturity, and throws more jabs at van Gaal

Mourinho sat down with France Football and he had a lot to get off of his chest.

Manchester United v Southampton - EFL Cup Final Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Manchester United manager José Mourinho, The Special Calm One, gave an extensive interview with France Football, because he knew that the international break was coming up and that the people needed some #content. Bless him.

He managed - with more tact than David “Brexit” Moyes - to lower the expectations for United fans, while also (again) taking shots at his great friend and mentor Louis van Gaal and the team’s style of play under the Dutchman.

“...for me, all the stages of the process are important. The first was to put the fans in harmony with the team, which was not the case in the last two years.

They were not happy with the way in which the team was playing, the approach, the style of play, and they would leave the stadium ten minutes before the end. They needed to come back in our direction. It was difficult, because we had to coincide the team’s style with results.”

He didn’t stop there with the unfavorable comparisons with United’s previous manager.

“If I tried to play on the counter with Manchester United, I am in s**t. If you want to play possession with a team where the players dribble a lot, take the maximum risks, push forward quickly, I would kill the potential of the players. I could have said to Di Maria, who was faster than an arrow: “You do not dribble, you play with one touch, you pass the ball, because I do not want to lose.” But I prefer to play with the qualities that my players have.”

On tactics, Mourinho explained why his current United is not the counter-attacking force that were a hallmark of his best teams.

“Because the Manchester United team is different. It is slower. It does not have quick players and has a desire to have the ball, in order to be dominant with play. Zlatan Ibrahimovic needs touches of the ball in order to play. Herrera, Carrick and Pogba too. Sometimes, in the last 20 minutes, I explore other options, and I put Marcus Rashford on to go in another direction. But, generally, I try to make do with the qualities that my players have.”

He also talked about using mind games in the media to motivate his players. Good news perhaps for the futures of a certain tubby left-back and sulky attacker.

The “mind game,” which involves trying to manipulate someone psychologically via the media, is a way of creating a state of mind, but one that is most effective when you have a team full of personalities and one that is ready to absorb this sort of talk.”

He even reminded us about how he’s no longer the cocky firebrand of his early days, or the paranoid, joyless cancer of the latter Madrid years/second Chelsea stint. He’s changed, baby.

“I have matured, I am more peaceful. A win no longer means the moon, a loss no longer means hell. And I think that I am in the process of transferring this calmness to those who are working with me, my players. I still have the same ambitions as before. The same involvement, the same professionalism. But I am more in control of my emotions.”

The full interview is available here, and is definitely worth reading.