MANCHESTER • New Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho announced his return to the English Premier League yesterday and he wasted little time in reopening his war of words with Arsene Wenger, and also aimed a barb at Louis van Gaal by being clear there will be no hiding behind "philosophies".
Mourinho, speaking at his first official press conference as United boss, was asked whether he had a point to prove following his sacking by Chelsea in December, just months after winning the title.
The Portuguese said: "There are some managers that the last time they won a title is 10 years ago.
"Some of them, the last time they won a title was never. The last time I won a title was one year ago, not 10 years ago, so if I have a lot to prove, then what about the others?"
Arsenal manager Wenger has actually not won a Premier League title in 12 years, but the inference was clear.
One thing that needed no guessing, as the 53-year-old pointed out, was how he plans to be upfront with the media and his players.
THE SPECIAL ONE ON...
ARSENAL MANAGER ARSENE WENGER
There are some managers that the last time they won a title is 10 years ago.
UNITED LEGEND RYAN GIGGS
The owners, the board decided that the job was for me.
HIS PREDECESSOR LOUIS VAN GAAL
I was never very good playing with the words or hiding behind words and hiding behind philosophies.
"I was never very good playing with the words or
hiding behind words and hiding behind philosophies," Mourinho said.
"I prefer to be more aggressive and say we want to win. I want everything. I want to win matches, I want to play well. I want to score goals, I don't want to concede goals. I want everything."
He insisted that his priority was to win the Premier League, rather than settle for Champions League qualification.
"Manchester United - for many years, success was just routine and in this moment the last three years are to forget. I want the players to forget. I don't want the players to think we have to do better and finish fourth. Finishing fourth is not the aim."
It was clear that Mourinho's eyes are firmly fixed on re-establishing United as title challengers - after a three-year hiatus under first David Moyes and then the autocratic van Gaal - and targeting the Champions League which is off United's menu next season.
Mourinho, however, declared that he wants to chase former manager Alex Ferguson's record of two Champions League titles for the club.
And the Portuguese was adamant he had landed the job at the perfect time.
"It comes at a right moment in my career. I have great motivation, I am where I want to be. I want to be in this club, this country, in the Premier League.
"The club is much more important than myself," he added.
"Manchester United is a Champions League club and in July 2017, instead of waiting for the Europa League, we have to make sure this club is where it has to be. That is obviously in the Champions League."
Last week, United confirmed that club legend Ryan Giggs will be leaving his position as assistant manager, after rejecting Mourinho's offer of a reduced coaching role.
To that, Mourinho said that Giggs had wanted to be the manager - essentially his job - but "the owners, the board decided that the job was for me".
The former Chelsea manager also assured fans that he will not break United's tradition of bringing through youth players - one of the main concerns that the United hierarchy, in particular Bobby Charlton, had before appointing him.
Such was Mourinho's determination to fulfil his promise that he appeared at the press conference with a list of 49 players whom he had promoted from academies during his career.
"Do you want to see the list?" he snapped at reporters.
On potential transfers, Mourinho said he identified four positions to strengthen, adding that United had secured three of their four transfer targets, with another player expected to be signed in the next few weeks.
His first game in charge will be a friendly against Borussia Dortmund in the International Champions Cup at Shanghai Stadium on July 22.
United's first Premier League game under Mourinho kicks off at Bournemouth on Aug 13.
THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE