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Mourinho denies rift with Man Utd’s Woodward


Jose Mourinho on Friday denied a rift with executive vice- chairman Ed Woodward despite growing speculation over the power structure at Manchester United.

The manager turned up for his weekly pre- match press conference 30 minutes early , ensuring most reporters were not even in attendance , and was clearly in no mood to answer questions about United ’s difficult start to the season.

A testing summer, in which Woodward failed to deliver Mourinho ’s transfer targets, has been followed by apparent difficulties between the United manager and French World Cup winner Paul Pogba .

Pogba has made enigmatic comments, suggesting he is not happy at Old Trafford, while his controversial agent Mino Raiola seemed to worsen the situation with a social media outburst against United great Paul Scholes.

Mourinho was tense and terse in his replies to questions on those topics in a press conference that lasted just eight minutes and was supposed to preview United’ s next Premier League game , at home to Tottenham on Monday .

But Mourinho, at least , claimed that his relationship with Woodward remained intact . When asked if his relationship with Woodward was “ fine ” Mourinho would only answer: “ Of course” .

And when quizzed further on whether there was a problem with the United executive , Mourinho responded: “ No” .

The veteran manager was equally unforthcoming when asked about Pogba who claimed , on Sunday after a defeat at Brighton, that his attitude was not “ right ” in the game .

“ Paul said it , so he has to answer for his words , ” said Mourinho . “ If you want any explanation about Paul ’ s words you must get him and ask him .”

The mood around Mourinho certainly summed up a difficult week for the club , which started with a poor performance in a 3 – 2 defeat at Brighton , a result that followed an unconvincing 2 – 1 home win against Leicester on the opening weekend .

But Mourinho bristled — not for the first time — at suggestions it had been a bad week for his club.

“ No, ” he said . “ I think ‘ difficult ’. Difficult is after the match you lose , it is always difficult , especially for people that really care about the job , about being a football professional .

“ But after that, you think about the next match . You do the same when you win , you have to move on and focus on what is next and when you lose you have to do even more. ”

Experienced Mourinho- watchers will draw comparisons with his behaviour towards the end of his second reign at Chelsea , when his press conferences became similarly monosyllabic affairs, although the United manager claimed he does not read or listen to the football media.

“ Don ’t ask me because I don’ t read , I don ’t know 10 percent of what is written , of what is coming on TV screens , so I ’m not the right guy to answer it , ” he said .

At least Mourinho had better news on the injury front with Antonio Valencia and Nemanja Matic , both of whom missed the opening two games , back in full training on Friday .

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