Jose Mourinho has insisted he is not the “monster” he was portrayed to be when he joined Manchester United.
Mourinho became the first United manager to win a trophy in his first season at Old Trafford when he collected the League Cup with last week’s thrilling 3-2 win against Southampton at Wembley.
And he will be aiming for more silverware when he takes United’s challenge in the Europa League to Russian side Rostov.
Mourinho arrived at Old Trafford having been sacked from Chelsea last season after a toxic fallout that involved the dismissal of a club doctor and alleged disagreements inside the dressing room.
But the United manager was adamant nobody at Old Trafford thought him an ogre.
“I think Man United have learnt I’m not the monster people say I am,” he said Friday.
“I’m not such a bad guy, an arrogant guy, a difficult person to work with, at least until now nobody at the training ground runs away when I arrive!
“So I think I’m better than you (the media) think — people are quite happy to have me around and to work with me,” the Portuguese added at a news conference.
“The relationship with the players is very good, and the relationship with my owners and my board I don’t think is just professional, it’s also one of trust and one that goes further than the contract, the manager, the owner, the board, so I’m happy.
“My feeling is everyone is happy but my contract is three years, not seven or eight months and I want evolution and improvement.”
– ‘Fundamental’ Ibrahimovic –
Mourinho’s signing of Zlatan Ibrahamovic was an inspired move, with the 35-year-old already having scored 26 goals this season, including two in last week’s final.
And the United boss believes the Swedish striker will stay, as the club look to exercise the 12-month option when his contract expires at the end of the season.
“I think Zlatan will be fundamental in the second year of this team and I think he’s willing to stay,” said Mourinho, who previously managed Ibrahimovic at Italian giants Inter Milan.
“I see him staying with us because the initial agreement was for him to come for one year plus us having the option. It’s been an amazingly successful year for him.
“It doesn’t matter what’s going to happen until the end of the season but the number of goals he’s scored, the trophy he won, the impact he had, the two times he played in the cathedral (Wembley) is more than enough to consider him a success at Man United.”
Mourinho, whose side continue their bid for a top-four finish in the Premier League at home to Bournemouth on Saturday, added: “I only want players who want to stay 100 percent but my feelings are he (Ibrahimovic) is really proud of himself, he’s happy with the success of his situation, so I see him staying with us.”
But Mourinho was less sure about the future of Wayne Rooney, who has been courted by former club Everton after being linked with a highly lucrative move to the Chinese Super League.
“I’m telling you all the talk about Everton for me makes nonsense,” said Mourinho.
“What I got from Wayne was a very strong message that ‘I don’t go anywhere’, especially China.
“The message I got was ‘I want to fight and help this team in every single one’, so until the end of the season he is 100 per cent with us.
“Next season 100 percent I would like him to be with us but I don’t give you 100 percent (assurances) and I like the players to be happy and not just to be with me because I want them with me.”