Pundit hints at secret Man Utd message behind Jorge Mendes’ Jose Mourinho statement | Football | Sport
Mendes took the surprise step of insisting his client is “fully committed” to Manchester United and has no intention of leaving Old Trafford any time soon.
Mourinho is the bookmakers’ favourite to be the next top-flight manager to leave and woke up to a report yesterday that Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has been targeted to replace him next summer.
That story may be behind agent Mendes’ surprise – and rare – statement clarifying his client’s status on the eve of today’s Premier League clash with Fulham.
“There have been more rumours of Jose Mourinho leaving Manchester United,” Mendes said.
“It’s totally untrue. Jose is very happy at the club and the club is very happy with him. He has a long-term contract with Manchester United and is fully committed to the club in building a solid winning project.”
But Mills believes there is an underlying message behind the statement – that Mourinho wants a big pay-off if he is to be given the boot.
“The second part of the statement says Jose is not going to walk away – if you want to get rid of him you’re going to have to give him a massive pay cheque, and he’s probably entitled to that,” Mills said on Sky Sports’ The Debate show.
“The first part of it – are they just stirring it up a little bit?
“You’re at Manchester United. Every single manager is under pressure, whatever club you’re at it doesn’t matter.
“If you’re at Manchester United, that pressure is ramped up. If results aren’t going your way and you’re not winning things, even more so.
“Even when he was winning trophies there he was under pressure because the way that they played – or the way they weren’t playing given the way United fans supposedly wanted.
“It’s one of those – if you want to get rid of me, sack me, and I’ll take a big pay-off. If not, just leave me alone.”
Mendes’ comment comes at an interesting time, especially given Mourinho’s agent did not publicly respond to the report that he would be sacked irrespective of the outcome of October’s clash with Newcastle.
Senior sources at the club strongly denied the story at the time and it is understood the manager still retains the backing of the United hierarchy. He has a contract with United until 2020, with an option for a further year, after signing a new and improved deal in January.
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It is reported the contract includes a clause that means it is cheaper to sack Mourinho if they fail to qualify for the Champions League.
Predecessors David Moyes and Louis van Gaal paid for failing to reach European football’s top table.
After three draws in a four-match winless league run, Mourinho’s side need a boost against Fulham.
That run – broken up only by a late 1-0 win against Young Boys in the Champions League – leaves United in eighth spot in the top flight, with an eight-point gap to the top four.