Jose Mourinho says Manchester United lack 'football heritage' in 12-minute rant
MANCHESTER -- Jose Mourinho launched a fierce defence of Manchester United's Champions League exit by insisting the club lacks "football heritage" in an emotional 12-minute speech during his Friday news conference.
United were knocked out in the Champions League round-of-16 after a 2-1 defeat to Sevilla at Old Trafford on Tuesday night. The Premier League club were widely expected to progress to the quarterfinals, but Mourinho questioned that view by highlighting United's recent European record.
After the game, Mourinho had said a European defeat was "not something new" to United, and on Friday the 55-year-old read out a list of statistics from a notebook to back up his statement in a rant that lasted 12 and a half minutes.
"There is something that I call 'football heritage,'" Mourinho said. "The last time Manchester United won the Champions League, which didn't happen a lot of times, was in 2008.
"Since reaching the final in 2011, in 2012, [United have gone] out in the group phase. The group was almost the same group we had this season, Benfica, Basel and [Oțelul] Galati from Romania. Out in the group phase.
"In 2013, out at Old Trafford in the last 16, I was on the other bench. In 2014, out in the quarterfinal. In 2015, no European football. In 2016, comes back to European football, out in the group phase, goes to Europa League and on the second knockout, out of the Europa League.
"In 2017, play Europa League, win Europa League with me and goes back to Champions League. In 2018, win the group phase with 15 points out of a possible 18 and loses at home in the last 16.
"So in seven years with four different managers, once not qualify for Europe, twice out in the group phase and the best was the quarterfinal.
"This is football heritage and if you want to go to the Premier League, the last victory was '12-'13 and in the four consecutive seasons United finish seventh, fourth, fifth and sixth.
"So in the last four years the best was fourth. This is football heritage. It means that when you start the process you are here, you are there or you are there, is heritage.
"And if the fans that I will always respect, always respect, if the fans and many of them are the ones you speak with, many of them are the ones I speak with and I am very lucky but the ones who speak with you are very disappointed and the ones I speak with know what is football heritage, what is a process and when I arrive.
"When I arrived in Real Madrid, do you know how many players played in the quarterfinal of the Champions League? Xabi Alonso with Liverpool, Casillas with Real Madrid and Ronaldo with Manchester United. All the others not even a quarterfinal, that's football heritage."
Mourinho paused briefly before suggesting he is playing catch-up with Manchester City because Pep Guardiola inherited a better squad when he took over at the Etihad Stadium. United are 16 points behind City, who need two more wins to clinch the title.
Mourinho questioned the group of players left behind by former boss Louis van Gaal and insisted the next United manager would find the club in a far better state than he did 18 months ago.
He ended his monologue by insisting he will not "run away" from the challenge at Old Trafford.
"Those stats are real," Mourinho continued, in an impassioned speech that drew comparisons with Rafael Benitez's "facts" rant in 2009.
"I give you a couple more. In the last seven years the worst position of Manchester City in the Premier League was fourth. In the last seven years Manchester City were champions twice and if you want to say three times, they were second twice. That's heritage.
"Do you know what is also heritage? Is that [Nicolas] Otamendi, Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho, [David] Silva, [Raheem] Sterling, [Sergio] Aguero -- they are investments from the past, not from the last two years.
"Do you know how many of United players that left the club last season? See where they play, how they play, if they play.
"That's football heritage and one day when I leave, the next Manchester United manager will find here [Romelu] Lukaku, [Nemanja] Matic, of course [David] De Gea from many years ago.
"They will find players with a different mentality, quality, background, with a different status, know-how and for some reason you go to the Champions League quarterfinal like today and there are four clubs that are always there, always there.
"Barcelona is always there in the past seven, eight years. Real Madrid, Juventus, Bayern Munich and then of course appear now and again, another club like my Inter, like some other clubs like Monaco last season, but the ones that are always there is for some reason.
"The good thing for me and the amazing feeling for me is that I am exactly on the same page as the owners, as [executive vice-chairman Ed] Woodward and [group managing director Richard] Arnold, we are on exactly the same page, we agree on everything, on the investments, that we have what we have, the investments that we are going to do will be season after season, we are exactly on the same page.
"So life is good. I have an amazing job to do. I could be in another country with the league in the pocket, I am here and I am going to be here and no way am I going to change my mentality.
"I don't know if you know the expression but there is a quote that I like 'every wall is a door.' I am not going to run away or disappear or to cry because I heard a few boos, I'm not going to disappear from the tunnel, running immediately, the next match I will be the first to go out.
"I am not afraid of my responsibilities. When I was 20 I was nobody in football, I was somebody's son, with a lot of pride, and now at 55 I am what I am. I did what I did because of work and because of talent and my mentality.
"I understand that for many, many, many, years was really, really hard for the people who doesn't like me. Here he is again, here he wins again. For 10 months I win nothing. The last title that I won was 10 months ago. I beat Liverpool, Chelsea, I lose against Sevilla and now is their moment to be happy.
"I learn that in my religious formation, be happy with others' happiness, so be it, I am a really happy guy."
Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.