Jose Mourinho: It will take Manchester United two years before matching Europe's elite

Posted Thursday, August 10, 2017 by

Jose Mourinho: It will take Manchester United two years before matching Europe's elite
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho says the team has a long way to go

JOSE MOURINHO says Manchester United have to cope with "a giant sitting on their chest" and it will be two years before he has a team capable of matching Europe's best.

Mourinho admits that despite spending around £300m in his first year in charge his squad is not yet at the level demanded by the club's history, global prestige and commercial success.

Defeat to Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup in Skopje on Tuesday served to underline Mourinho's belief that while United remain a huge cash cow off the pitch, they have a quality gap to bridge as they bid to progress from Europa League winners to establishing themselves as a Champions League force again.

He said: "Manchester United are one of the top three football clubs in the world, no doubt about it, but the football club is one thing and the team's credentials going into a competition are another thing entirely.

"We have a giant on our chest, which is really heavy, but we don't compare our potential to the biggest clubs in Europe right now.

"Because Manchester United is a real giant, it doesn't matter if the club is somewhat far away from that level for three, four, five or 10 years. It doesn't matter; the club will always be a giant.

"But our job is to try to bring the football team back to that stature. That's really difficult these days."

One of the reasons for that difficulty Mourinho claims is the new economic power of clubs like neighbours Manchester City, his former club Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain, which makes the task of trying to restore United to the glories enjoyed under Sir Alex Ferguson even more complicated.

"Before, the giants were the powerful clubs economically," he added. "Now there are small clubs in terms of prestige and history, who are giants economically. That changes absolutely everything.

"I want the team to be on a par with the club's history, which is something I've been lucky enough to feel at every club – there was the same kind of feeling when I was at Inter Milan and at Real Madrid.

"We are going to do that, step by step. Last season we won trophies. The next step is to finish in the top two of your Champions League group. If you can qualify for the last 16 then anything can happen.

"Playing against the European champions [in the Super Cup] it's like we're back at the theatre, back at that level. This is where we want to be.

"We'll improve the team and try to be at that level, to be constantly improving. And we're going to reach that level as a football team in the next couple of years."

If Manchester United do that, there seems little doubt Mourinho – who has never stayed at a club longer than three years – will be extending his contract at Old Trafford which has two seasons left to run.

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