Jose Mourinho explained how happy he was with his Manchester United project on Friday, acknowledging that it was “easy to feel at home” with one of the world’s biggest clubs.
It was not the most comfortable nor consistent of starts for Mourinho at Old Trafford as he struggled to find his best team and the Portuguese coach often cut a distracted figure as he bemoaned the pitfalls of living alone in his Manchester hotel.
Yet after an impressive spell for his expensively-assembled team, and now with a largely injury-free squad bearing a settled look, Mourinho is looking forward to his first festive season at United with a touch of his old unassailable confidence.
“The people want to be happy again…” Mourinho told a news conference on Friday, with his side sitting in sixth place in the Premier League. “So five or six months here, (I was) really feeling at home so it was quite easy.
“Obviously, expectations are high, results up and down and we are in a position that is not where we want to be, but in terms of passion for my work and my new club, I’m feeling really happy here.”
On Monday, former United manager David Moyes, who along with his successor Louis van Gaal found Alex Ferguson too hard an act to follow, makes his return to Old Trafford with his struggling Sunderland team.
Yet though Mourinho faced a similar stuttering start to this most formidable of jobs, he has guided United within four points of the top four in the Premier League and into the last 32 of the Europa League on the back of 10 undefeated matches.
Revealing he had never spoken to Moyes about the United job, Mourinho recalled how he felt about finally landing a role he coveted.
“For me it was a difficult job but easy to feel at home, easy to feel good in the club, easy to feel the club has progressed,” he said.
With practically a full squad available to him for the congested holiday programme, Mourinho again queried the fairness of the league’s fixture schedule, with United facing a tighter programme than leaders Chelsea, who they trail by 13 points.
“The busy period is for some clubs, not for everyone, because when you analyse, there is no congestion for them (Chelsea),” Mourinho said.
“The fixtures are chosen to give some rest for some and create problems for others but we are used to it because we are in the Europa League, which creates more difficulties. So it is just more of the same.”