MANCHESTER, England– Jose Mourinho has admitted Manchester United’s dismal run of form is unacceptable but says his players are better than their start to the season suggests.
Mourinho was speaking at his prematch news conference ahead of Saturday’s match with Newcastle and it was an unusual affair, with an irregular 8 a.m. BST start time. In total, the broadcast section of the press conference lasted three-and-a-half minutes, with the under-pressure United manager answering five of the six questions put to him.
United have gone four games without a win for the first time since Louis van Gaal’s reign and have not recorded a victory at Old Trafford since Aug. 10. Failure to beat Newcastle at home on Saturday would extend their winless run at Old Trafford to five games for the first time since 1990.
Asked whether he accepted that would not be good enough, he said: “Yes, I accept.”
During a prickly meeting with reporters the United manager was asked for the reasons behind his team’s poor form.
“For many different reasons,” he said, but refused to expand on what they are.
Asked whether he could assure supporters he was doing everything to turn it around, he did not respond.
Despite admitting United’s form — which has left them 10th in the table and closer to bottom side Huddersfield than leaders Manchester City — is a problem, Mourinho was keen to put a different spin on the run of results.
“Only one defeat at home all season, only one defeat in the last seven matches but not victories at home in the past three matches,” he said.
“Three draws, not the feeling of the defeat but not the happiness of the victory so is important for us to try and win this match on Saturday.”
Mourinho has repeatedly declined to answer questions about whether he feels his team is good enough to challenge for the title.
But he is adamant they are “much better” than their start to the season suggests and challenged his players to kick-start a positive run against Newcastle and Rafael Benitez on Saturday.
“I know we are in the beginning of October and we look to tables all around Europe and in many of the leagues the tables in September and October don’t reflect what is going to happen in a few months or even in the end of the season but we are in a position that we can do much better and to do that we need points,” he said.
“Points that we lost especially in the last two Premier League matches with one point out of six and we know that to improve that position we need to win these three points.”
Mourinho also confirmed Ashley Young is available for Saturday’s visit of Newcastle but Marcos Rojo, Ander Herrera and Jesse Lingard remain absent.