The dust had barely settled on the Red Devils’ FA Cup win before talk turned to the arrival of the Special One at Old Trafford but confusion reigned among the club’s players
Manchester United’s players were last night in the dark over reports linking Jose Mourinho to Old Trafford following their FA Cup final success against Crystal Palace at Wembley.
Before current United manager Louis van Gaal had addressed the press following his side’s extra-time victory, news emerged that Mourinho was likely to be installed at United as soon as Tuesday with Van Gaal expected to leave the club imminently. The 64-year-old is two years into a three-year contract.
However, there was considerable confusion over the managerial situation among the players, who were uncertain about the future of Van Gaal when they met together after the game. Wayne Rooney, the long-serving club captain, was not briefed on the situation regarding the managerial position before news leaked out.
The rumours over Mourinho’s arrival began yesterday morning in Spain where the Portuguese and his agent Jorge Mendes hold influence following his spell in charge at Real Madrid. United staff were indeed speaking about Mourinho ahead of the final but they were responding among themselves to the Spanish rumours as opposed to reacting to any official club information.
Local Manchester reports placed Mourinho in the city as recently as Wednesday while the former Chelsea boss attended David Haye’s heavyweight boxing match against Arnold Gjergjaj at the O2 in London on Saturday night.
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward visited the manager and players in the Wembley dressing rooms on Saturday evening following Jesse Lingard’s sensational winner, joking they had left it late to calm his nerves.
Van Gaal shook the hands of his players and told them they were well deserving of their cup win before finalising plans to travel to his Portuguese bolt hole this week.
The Dutchman last night expected to be back at United’s Carrington training ground on Monday morning.