Jose Mourinho says recent history proves it takes a defensive mindset to win the Premier League, although he insists his Manchester United side can ignore that trend.
In one of his frequent and numerous digs at his former club Chelsea, Mourinho pointed out that his successor Antonio Conte employed a defence-first, counter-attacking style to win last season’s title.
“We try to play the best we can,” Mourinho said on Friday. “We know that if you look in a pragmatic way, you see the last winners of the Premier League, they did not play attacking football.
“They played defensive football and counter-attack football. So, according to the results, that is the way to win the Premier League.
“We try to play according to the qualities of our players. We try to play positive, we try to play good, but we try to win.”
“If one day to win we have to play defensive football, we have to do it,” said Mourinho.
“If we go to Stoke and Stoke in some moments of the match, they put us under pressure and they are dominant, we have to be humble and we have to be pragmatic and we have to face the reality.
“If you ask me, are we going to go there and play with seven at the back, like some teams do, five plus two? No, we’re not going to do that. We’re going to try and play well and score goals.
“But if our opponent is better than us and dominant, we are humble enough to transform our way of playing to play for a result.”