Jose Mourinho has come out to say that the level of expectation on Manchester United is hindering their bid to get back their rightful place at the top of European football — but insists he will get them there soon enough.
United, who lost narrowly in the UEFA Super Cup to Real Madrid on Tuesday, are playing with “a giant on the chest,” according to Mourinho, who says they are still a bit behind europe’s biggest clubs after four seasons of massive failure following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
Mourinho believes it will take two more years to get back to where they really belong, but he insists winning the League Cup and Europa League in his first season at Old Trafford is a nice start.
“Manchester United are one of the top three football clubs in the world, no doubt about it,” he said in an interview conducted by UEFA. “But the football club is one thing and the team’s credentials going into a competition are another thing entirely.
“We have a giant on our chest, which is really heavy, but we don’t compare our potential to the biggest clubs in Europe right now. We’ll take it step by step and be humble.
“Last year we won trophies. We’ll improve the team and try to be at that level, to constantly be improving. And I think we’re going to reach that level as a football team in the next couple of years.”
He added: “Because Manchester United is a real giant, it doesn’t matter if the club is somewhat far away from that level for three, four, five or 10 years.
“It doesn’t matter, the club will always be a giant. But our job is to try to bring the football club back to that stature.
“That’s really difficult these days. Before, the giants were the powerful ones economically, and now there are small clubs in terms of prestige and history, who are giants economically. That changes absolutely everything.
“I want the team to be on a par with the club’s history, which is something I’ve been lucky enough to feel at every club — there was the same kind of feeling at Inter [Milan] and at Real Madrid. We are going to do that, step by step.”