Manchester United

Jose Mourinho has expressed his dissatisfaction with the Christmas schedule. “For me, Christmas will be disaster because we play Palace on 14th, West Brom on 17th, Sunderland Boxing Day, Middlesbrough on the New Years’ Eve.” Pressed by reporters on what he saw wrong with this apparently easy fixture list, Mourinho replied: “Jack and the Beanstalk is on at Middleton Arena 1pm and 5pm on the Boxing Day. Because of Sunderland match, I miss both. Many time I say, football is like the beanstalk. Mata was the cow for Chelsea; he stopped giving milk when he say ‘No’ to tracking back, so I sold him for magic beans, which I planted. Beans grew into gnarled, tall beanstalk called Diego Costa and then we won the title.”

Warming to his theme of festive despair, Mourinho began to talk candidly about his adjustment to the north of England: “Manchester life is not so good life for me. Everyone talk about this restaurant, that restaurant, but my life is hotel life. It same hotel Utd always use, so sponsor know it, paparazzi know it so I might as well say it: Premier Inn West Didsbury. You see—Premier Inn for Premier League. When I had court case for Eva, they put me in Jury’s Inn. At Premier Inn I have sofa bed, lightweight yet cosy duvet, ironing board and hair dryer attached to mirror. I have meal deal where I save up to 25% so I am not the hungry one. However, I see no culture. I am stuck in hotel with paparazzi outside when I want to see Whitworth Gallery, when I want to go Elizabeth Gaskell’s house. She inspire me: everything in Victorian England anti-woman, so to do with class, but she said ‘No’ to that. I tell my players before the match—be like Elizabeth: write your novel and fight ‘til you puke.”

Mourinho was quizzed by reporters about how he will spend his time in his Premier Inn between matches. “I write Christmas cards: I have the yellow cards and the red cards.” Asked who was on his yellow cards list, Mourinho replied: “My team: I love them unconditionally, like a father, but this Christmas card is a warning to them—they need to be like the ‘big ones’ and put their bodies on the line. They are lambs who can become lions.” Asked who he plans to be the unlucky recipients of his red Christmas cards, Mourinho quipped: “In this moment, I cannot say. All I tell is one of them has name which begin with ‘E’ and ends with ‘A’. My only other clue is that the name is three letters.”