Skip to main content

Mourinho keen to close gap between expectations and reality at Manchester United

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho believes the gap between his side's potential and expectations at Old Trafford is a tough one to bridge.

Mourinho took charge of the 20-time English champions after Louis van Gaal stepped down at the end of last season.

The reigns of David Moyes and Van Gaal, even allowing for last year's FA Cup triumph, marked a significant downturn from Alex Ferguson's glorious reign at Old Trafford.

United won the first silverware of the English season by beating Southampton 3-2 in the EFL Cup final at Wembley last month and they head to Chelsea in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on Monday, with their interest in the Europa League on-going.

Nevertheless, they lie a distant sixth as Chelsea race clear at the top of the Premier League and Mourinho feels ready to settle in for the long haul, with plenty of work still to be done.

Speaking to BBC Football Focus, he said: "I work a lot but that's what I like. I love the club. I feel that I am here for much more time because the connection is so good with everyone.

"The hard part is the expectation because of the club's history. I am also a little bit guilty of it because I am used to winning trophies in every club.

"The relationship between our true potential and the expectations, there is a gap and that gap is the most difficult thing."

Thursday's 1-1 draw against Rostov in the last-16 of the Europa League, with a return at Old Trafford to come next week, underlines the strain United's current schedule places on United's squad but the manager is not content with one major honour.

"We are happy with the trophy, a trophy is always important," he said. "The reality is that many other teams in England are going to finish the season without a trophy and we have won the EFL Cup and the Community Shield [beating Leicester City 2-1 in August].

"We are in the quarter-final of the FA Cup but we have to fight for everything. The EFL Cup is not enough for us to say the season is over in February."