Manchester United are sitting outside the top six and after a number of underwhelming performances, the pressure is once again mounting on manager Jose Mourinho. The Red Devils are currently in eighth place and Everton in seventh after AFC Bournemouth’s win tonight took them to sixth. United play Arsenal and the Toffees host Newcastle on Wednesday.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference though, Mourinho was forced to reprise his comments from earlier in the season when he boldly predicted that his side would be sitting in the top four by the end of the calendar year.
His new proclamation involved him going on a rant about Everton’s transfer spending over the summer, a sore point for the manager who failed to bring in a starting defender during the transfer window and instead spent £73m on three players (Fred - £52.5m, Diogo Dalot - £19 m, Lee Grant - £1.5m)
“I think Manchester United [in] seventh place I can agree. In spite of the investment Everton made was phenomenal and obviously there was a great improvement in that team from last season in relation to this, but I don’t think Everton will be in front of Manchester United at the end of the season.
“There are six [big] teams that should stay in the first six positions, season after season two of these teams are staying outside the top four. For example, last season was Arsenal and Chelsea. And this season two of these six are going to stay outside. Who is the best team of the six the team with more potential less potential who is the team performing not so well.”
The Blues signed seven players during the offseason, but two of those (Andre Gomes, Kurt Zouma) were on loan and a third (Bernard) on a free transfer, and the sum spent on Richarlison, Lucas Digne, Yerry Mina and Joao Virginia came up to about £80m.
When asked about Mourinho’s comments, his countryman Marco Silva refused to be drawn into his mindgames.
“Believe me, I know Jose very well. We, as a club, and our players don’t need these type of things to have more motivation behind us.
“I think our motivation and ambition is here, everyday, and it is not just Manchester United, it is the other sides in the top six and their obligation to stay above all the other teams, it is a normal thing and how they spend more and more means that the gap in budgets is really big – really, really big.
“But we did well in the last market because we did our homework. From the first day I had targets in my mind but, as you know, we really spent less than last season. Maybe 50%. maybe less than 50%. We bought three players and one young goalkeeper and we signed two loan players.
“Ok, we had to do our homework and if we did something phenomenal then we had to show we had the capacity to buy Andre and Zouma and we didn’t have this capacity.
“We achieved them on loan because we did our work well and we spent 50% less than last season and we are happy with what we achieved. Let’s see what we can do in the future.”
Smart of Silva to not listen to the madman’s ranting, and instead just focusing on going about his business.