Just a week ago, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was still confident that his team was capable of winning the league title, but now it seems as though the Portuguese has had a change of mind. Mourinho insisted that United will win the title, but maybe not this year.
The season started off well but United have failed to find the right consistency to keep their results going and now face a struggle to even reach the top four.
Mourinho has seen progress in the team
A poor run of results has seen United sit in 8th position in the league standings, 14 points off the leaders Chelsea, this huge points difference surely ends the Red Devils' dreams of winning the league title in Mourinho's first season.
In spite of the poor points return, the Portuguese is still confident that he has seen enough progress in the team to suggest that this squad is capable of winning the title in the future.
Mourinho explained the team's destination and said that the destination for United is "to be champions". He acknowledged United's situation in the league and said that "maybe not this year, maybe we cannot do it".
He continued, "There’s a gap between us and the top of the table but the destination is for us to be champions. I don’t know when. Maybe next year, maybe this year, maybe in two years’ time.".
Jose even admitted that United may not win the title during his reign as manager and said, "Maybe when I’m not here and somebody else comes", he added " but if we follow this direction, the destination is to be champions,sometimes you win matches and you don’t know the destination, you don’t know how the future is going to be."
"Now, in our group, we know the destination.”
Mourinho has had to oversee a radical change in mindset
For two years since Sir Alex Ferguson's departure, United went through a change in mindset which was far from the attacking philosophy that Sir Alex managed to instil in the club's DNA during his time at the club. Both Louis Van Gaal and David Moyes's methods left lasting impressions on the mentality of the players with the former often accused of playing 'boring' football.
Mourinho has repeatedly spoken about this since the start of the season and explained how he's had to oversee a much more difficult transition at the club because of the way the previous managers made United's player approach games.
He emphasised the fact that each manager has his own tactics, his own philosophy and methods, "We managers, we think differently, and sometimes we change from one manager to another one where the differences are not significant and you just pull a few strings, you just put your little fingerprint and you give a little touch and you get a lot from what was there".
Mourinho has gradually started to get the team to play better football and while the performances have been praise-worthy, the results have left United fans with much to desire. He explained how this team is "so different" from last season and claimed that the team could "probably" have had better results if they didn't "try to go in the opposite direction".
He continued in saying that the club tried to go in a "completely different" direction and said that changing the method, the philosophy at any club is the "most difficult thing" in football.
Jose highlights the hard work put in by staff
Mourinho emphasised the importance of "the way to play" and admitted it was "really hard" to change the "tactical systems" at Carrington.
He explained how hard it was to change the mentality in the team and said, "You don’t know how much we had to prepare, with videos and all the work we did so we could help the players." He gave an example of the efforts they had to take,"The difference, for example. between following your man and playing zonal".
Mourinho admitted that it was "hard" and that it "will be hard", but admits that the team now knows where the "destination" is and that the club knows where it "wants to go".