Jose Mourinho has dismissed concerns his job at Manchester United is under threat and playfully suggested it would cost the club too much to sack him anyway.
Mourinho eased the pressure mounting on his shoulders with an impressive 2-0 win over Burnley at Turf Moor on Sunday, when the manager put on a striking united front after weeks spent complaining about on and off field issues.
Successive defeats to Brighton and Tottenham had intensified the spotlight on Mourinho and his strained relationship with some players and the club’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward.
But Mourinho laughed off suggestions his position was “shaky” when quizzed about his future by reporters from Italian publications, La Repubblica and Gazzetta dello Sport, in the aftermath of the Burnley win.
Mourinho was also reported to have joked that the hefty compensation bill United would have to foot if they elected to dismiss him might act as a deterrent.
The Portuguese is understood to earn up to £15 million a year at Old Trafford and would be entitled to substantial pay-off of at least 12 months’ salary under the terms of his current contract, which expires in June 2020.
“They say I’m in danger but I don’t think it,” said Mourinho, who formerly managed Inter Milan. “If they send me away, do you have any idea how much money they would have to give me? Ah ah.”
Although Mourinho and Woodward have not seen eye to eye over transfers this summer, with the manager particularly frustrated the club vetoed a move for a centre-half, Mourinho offered his public support to Woodward after a plane was flown over Turf Moor trailing a banner that described United’s executive vice-chairman as “a specialist in failure”.
He was also able to make a joke of the situation when light-heartedly asked if he was the man who had paid for the protest. “No… but I could have!” Mourinho apparently replied in jest.
Mourinho had earlier fielded two questions from the Italian journalists about Juventus, with whom United have been drawn in the Champions League group stage, and Cristiano Ronaldo, who joined the Turin club for £90 million in the summer and who the United manager said was “never on my table” as a summer transfer target.
Nemanja Matic has credited Mourinho with helping to deflect pressure from the players by making sure the spotlight is firmly on him with defiant boasts about his managerial record
Asked if he liked to hear the manager talking himself up and whether it helped take the pressure off the squad, the midfielder said: “Of course. He knows what he is doing, for sure. You probably know that also. It’s good for us. He is one of the best managers in the world, you know what he won in his career so that shows you everything.”
“I think he is dealing very well with the pressure. That is why he is here in Manchester United. I don’t see any difference. He was very confident before the game against Burnley and he prepared the game in a very good way.”