JOHANNESBURG – Jose Mourinho dismissed speculation linking him with a return to Real Madrid on Monday, saying he wants to stay on as Manchester United manager beyond his current contract.
Current Real coach Julen Lopetegui is under pressure following a string of results that has left his side seventh in La Liga and Spanish media have reported that Mourinho is favourite for the job if Lopetegui is sacked.
Mourinho’s United contract ends in 2020 and the club have the option to extend it for another year, but the Portuguese is under pressure himself with United 10th in the Premier League table after nine games.
“My future is here,” Mourinho told a news conference ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League meeting with Juventus. “I have a contract and until the final days of my contract I only think about Manchester United.
“I would like to stay after my contract runs out as well.”
He also confirmed that United would be without six players for Tuesday’s match at Old Trafford, with Alexis Sanchez, Marouane Fellaini, Jesse Lingard, Diogo Dalot, Scott McTominay and Phil Jones all ruled out.
“The players you saw (in training) are the players that are available,” Mourinho added. “There is nothing to hide and Alexis is out.”
The Portuguese also attempted to draw a line under the unsavoury scenes at the end of his team’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea at the weekend, asking Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri to give his assistant Marco Ianni “a second chance”.
Ianni sparked a row by exuberantly celebrating a late Chelsea equaliser in front of the United bench, but apologised for his behaviour after the game.
Former United midfielder Phil Neville had called for Ianni to be sacked by Chelsea because of his unsporting conduct, but Mourinho disagreed.
“I’m not happy that it is going too far with the young boy, I don’t think he deserves more than what he got,” Mourinho said.
“(Ianni) apologised to me, I accept his apologies, I think he deserves a second chance, I don’t think he deserves to be sacked… It was end of the story with me in the minute he apologised.” (Reuters)