Jose Mourinho has declined Syria’s offer to coach the war-torn nation’s team while reiterating his desire to return to management in England next season.


The Portuguese, who has been linked with Manchester United since being fired by Chelsea for a second time in December, insisted he has not yet penned an agreement with any club.

“I don’t have a contract with any club but in the summer I will be back,” Mourinho told British broadcaster Sky Sports as he prepared to watch the Anthony Joshua-Charles Martin boxing match in London.

Louis van Gaal remains in charge of United, which has not denied a constant stream of reports that it wants Mourinho to replace the Dutchman.

“[Van Gaal] is my friend, I worked with him for a few years,” Mourinho said. “I am always linked with jobs and in the summer I will have a job, but in this moment I can promise you I do not have a contract with any club.”

A day earlier, Mourinho said he wanted to work in a “difficult league” and he confirmed to Sky that he has his sights set on the Premier League.

“I am not in position to turn down [jobs],” he said. “I am in a position to analyse, this is April, everything starts in July, every decision is made between May and the start of June.

“I am not in a position to deny, I am open to any club, national team, but I have to be honest, if possible, a club.

“I would prefer [to stay England]. I love the country, the football here, my family is very stable and happy.”

On the Syria offer, the former Real Madrid and Inter Milan coach said: “They published on their website the letter they sent to my agent. That one I have to say is true, but I have to say in a very special way we said we were not interested in the job.

Earlier, agent Jorge Mendes’ company, Gestifute, told The Associated Press: “While [Mourinho] felt honoured to receive the invitation, he cannot at the moment accept it.”

Mourinho also said he would like the man he originally replaced at Chelsea, Claudio Ranieri, to succeed him in lifting the Premier League trophy with Leicester.

“When Prince William is saying he would love Leicester to win it, I am nobody to say anything,” Mourinho added. “I think [Ranieri’s] career deserves that. He is a good man who I respect. In spite of bad words, he knows I like him very much and I would like him to win.

“But I like Mauricio [Pochettino], I have a great relationship with him and his work at Tottenham is very good. Let’s go for the simple one, the one with more points deserves to win.”

Information from Press Association and The Associated Press was used in this report.