Jose Mourinho believes winning matches is more integral to Manchester United’s DNA than playing with flair.
Mourinho’s predecessor Louis van Gaal was judged to have failed on both fronts, but the regular chants of “attack, attack, attack” at Old Trafford last season showed where the fans placed their priorities.
Mourinho, like most managers, would like to succeed with panache but, having watched United at close quarters for over a decade, he sees victory as the primary aim of any match followed by style.
“I grew up in football as a manager since 2001 more or less, especially when I came to England in 2004, and I saw Manchester United as a winning team, not as always an attacking team,” he said ahead of Sunday’s Premier League opener at Bournemouth.
“I played sometimes against Manchester United and they were a defensive team. I played Real Madrid-Manchester United in Madrid and they crossed the midfield line twice… Wayne Rooney played outside-left to defend my right-back.
“I saw them always as a winning team with an attacking philosophy, but a winning team. The winning team needs to score more goals than they concede but, if you want, to concede less goals than the goals you score.
“That’s the challenge for Manchester United, to try to be a winning team in a new era of the Premier League that is much more difficult than before. So our job is really difficult but we want to win matches, we want to win competitions, and to win isolated matches you can play bad but to win competitions you need to play well.”