June 23, 2021

Mourinho: Man United resolving defensive problems

September 21, 2018
Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho says Manchester United are improving defensively as a team and refused to put an upturn in results down to individuals.

United started the season by losing two of their opening three Premier League games for the first time since 1992, but have since recorded three straight victories.

Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof have partnered in central defence for those wins, but Mourinho said United have become harder to score against because the whole team is working better together.

“The team as a team is resolving the defensive problems better than before, I don’t want to say it was Eric Bailly or Phil Jones and now Smalling and Lindelof,” he said, ahead of United’s game against Wolves on Saturday.

“I think the team is more compact, more solid. The spirit, the cooperation, the empathy and communication have all improved in the team. Good results bring confidence.

“We are as improving as a team I don’t want to say it has the name of Chris or Victor.”

Diogo Dalot, who Mourinho said could spend the next decade at Manchester United following his debut in the Champions League win over Young Boys this week, will not play against Wolves on Saturday.

Mourinho instead wants to play Dalot against Derby in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday.

“I want him, in this process of adaptation, I want him to be totally fresh,” said Mourinho.

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“To play for Manchester United is difficult enough. For a kid of 19 coming from another country and after an important injury I think it’s difficult enough – he doesn’t need to face more difficulties because of an accumulation of matches.”

Wolves head coach Nuno Espirito Santo, a former Mourinho player at Porto, has “earned the right” to be a Premier League manager – according to the Manchester United boss.

Mourinho paid tribute to Wolves’ Portuguese imports, but said he has not spoken to his agent Jorge Mendes about Wolves’ recruitment.

Ruben Neves, Rui Patricio, Diego Jota and Helder Costa are among a number of Mendes’ clients to have joined Wolves since Fosun took charge of the club in 2016.

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“I think the work in Wolves is good, it’s not just about Portuguese influence, it’s also about getting the right ones,” he said.

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