There had been speculation that Mourinho may not extend his time at United but, in a week that has seen the signing of Alexis Sánchez, both the owners and manager were all smiles as Jose Mourinho yesterday signed a contract extension with the club that will keep him at Old Trafford until 2020 with an option to extend for a further year.
After the contract signing, said that he is “honoured and delighted” to stay at Old Trafford: “I am really honoured and proud to be Manchester United’s manager.
I would like to say a big thank you for the recognition of my hard work and dedication. I am delighted they feel and trust I am the right manager for this great club for the foreseeable future.
“We have set very high standards – winning three trophies in one season – but those are the standards I expect my teams to aim for. We are creating the conditions for a brilliant and successful future for Manchester United. My thanks, of course, go to my staff and to my players; without their empathy and friendship this wouldn’t be possible. I love my players and it is a pleasure to know that we are going to be together for at least the next three years. And I cannot finish without thanking the fans for their support and for making me feel at home so quickly. I repeat, to be Manchester United manager is an honour every day and I am really happy” he said.
United supremo Ed Woodward added: “Jose has already achieved a great deal as Manchester United manager and I am delighted that he has agreed to extend his commitment until at least 2020.
“His work rate and professionalism are exceptional and he has embraced the club’s desire to promote top quality young players to the first team. He has brought energy and a sense of purpose to everything that he does and I am sure that will continue to bring results for the fans and the club.”
There was, however, confusion over Sánchez and whether the player had inadvertently missed a doping test during the transfer from Arsenal to United. Widespread reports – following on from an initial report in Spain – said the Chile international may have fallen foul of the Football Association’s “whereabouts” rule by allegedly not being present for a test on Monday.
However, that was the day he was completing his high-profile switch from London to Manchester, opening the door to the possibility of genuine confusion as to his whereabouts.
There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Sánchez or the clubs. Both Arsenal and United declined to comment, as did the FA. As part of the FA’s anti-doping guidelines, players are advised to notify the governing body if they are due to be absent from a scheduled training session. Manchester City and Bournemouth were both fined £35,000 last season after failing to ensure their whereabouts information was accurate on three occasions within a 12-month period.
On Sánchez, Mourinho said he was “one of the best attacking players in the world” but admitted the signing had very little to do with him.
“Sometimes managers can take responsibility for signings but my contribution for Alexis to be here was zero,” he said. “That was [executive vice-chairman] Ed -Woodward’s work after the green light from the owners.”
United currently sits second in the league this term, and despite murmurs over his future and recent links with Paris Saint-Germain, the former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss was delighted to confirm he would be staying on in charge of the Red Devils.
Mourinho replaced Louis van Gaal in 2016, and despite finishing sixth in the Premier League in his first season, he did manage to guide the team to both the EFL Cup and the Europa League.