Moan-Rinho gives 31/2-min conference

United boss refuses to defend poor form, but admits Newcastle are 'difficult' opponents

LONDON • Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was yet again in a grumpy mood during a terse 31/2-minute press conference yesterday, when he even snubbed a reporter who asked if he is doing his best to help his struggling side.

Speaking ahead of today's home Premier League match against Newcastle, the Portuguese manager primarily gave short answers and uttered a total of just 262 words in response to six questions.

Why are you doing so badly?

"For many different reasons," the 55-year-old said.

Will you tell us what they are?

"No."

He did, however, admit that it would be unacceptable if United fail to beat Newcastle today and go five matches without a victory. It would also mean five games without victory at Old Trafford, equalling a winless run at home from November to February of the 1989-90 campaign.

MAGPIES NO EASY MEAT

The results they had against the top teams didn't get them points yet this season but gave them very close results and very difficult matches for the opposition. So we expect a difficult match.

JOSE MOURINHO, Manchester United manager, giving an elaborate answer for a change when asked to analyse today's Premier League opponents Newcastle.

Their last win came in the Champions League, 3-0 away to Switzerland's Young Boys on Sept 19. Since then, they have drawn two and lost two, albeit one on penalties.

United last went five matches without a victory in November and December of the 2015-16 season under Louis van Gaal.

Mourinho, asked whether matching this sequence today would see standards fall short of that required at a club of United's stature, simply said: "Yes, I accept."

The United boss said he could not give the reasons for the uninspiring form but that improving their home record was vital.

He also gave elaborate views only on the Newcastle match but not on his side's poor run.

"Very important (to win at home)," he said.

"I know we are in the beginning of October and we look to tables all around Europe and, in many of the leagues, the tables in September, October don't reflect what is going to happen in a few months later or even at the end of the season.

"But we are in a position that we can do much better and, to do that, we need points, points that we lost especially in the last two Premier League matches with one point out of six.

"We know that to improve that position, we need to win these three points. But we know that our opposition also needs the points, a very good coach (Rafael Benitez), a team that is always very well organised against especially the teams of the first part of the table where their manager is very bright on his analysis of the opposition's qualities and to try to stop them.

"The results they had against the top teams didn't get them points yet this season but gave them very close results and very difficult matches for the opposition. So we expect a difficult match."

Mourinho is under enormous pressure with United's worst start to a top-flight campaign in 29 years after seven league matches.

His side are 10th in the table, nine points adrift of leaders Manchester City and Liverpool - and a public dispute with star midfielder Paul Pogba has reportedly divided the dressing room.

Paul Scholes, meanwhile, has said that Mourinho is facing "the biggest challenge of his career" to turn things around.

"I'm sick of him moaning about what he hasn't got," the former United midfielder said on BBC.

THE GUARDIAN

MAN UNITED V NEWCASTLE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2018, with the headline 'Moan-Rinho gives 31/2-min conference'. Print Edition | Subscribe