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I belong at the top – Jose Mourinho

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Jose Mourinho says he is “too young” to consider retirement as he spoke for the first time since he was sacked by Manchester United.

Mourinho, who was appearing as a pundit for Qatar-based broadcaster beIN Sports on its coverage of the Asian Cup, says he still belongs at the top level.

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The 55-year-old had not spoken to the media since his dismissal in December.

“I want to coach. I belong to top-level football and [that] is where I am going to be,” Mourinho said.

“I am too young, I am in football for a long, long time but I will be 56 in a couple of weeks and am really too young.”

The Portuguese manager was sacked by United on 18 December following a defeat to leaders Liverpool that left them closer in terms of points to the relegation zone than to the top of the table.

Since former Red Devils striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took charge, United have won a six successive games and are six points off the top four.

‘Clubs need structure behind the manager’
It is understood a non-disclosure agreement signed as part of his pay-off at United means Mourinho is not allowed to talk directly about his departure.

However, he did say that clubs need to provide managers and coaches with support to deal with “modern players”.

During his time at Manchester United he clashed with several players including the club’s record signing France midfielder Paul Pogba.

“Everything good I did with players is not news anymore,” he said. “News is when you have problems. In modern football there is a problem between the coach and the player.

“We are not in a time anymore where the coach, by himself, is powerful enough to cope and to have a relationship of education and sometimes confrontation with players who are not the best professionals.”

Mourinho says modern football clubs need structuring so that there is not a direct relationship “between the player and the coach” which he says leads to “hard decisions”.

“The club must have an owner, a chief executive, a sports director and then a manager. This is a structure that can cope with all the problems that modernity is bringing to all of us.

“A club must be very well organised to cope with all of these kind of situations where the manager is only the manager and is not trying to keep the discipline or trying to educate the players.”

Mourinho said he was proud of what he achieved at Manchester United, particularly finishing second behind Manchester City in the 2017-18 season.

He said: “If I tell you for example that I consider one of the best jobs of my career was to finish second with Manchester United in the Premier League, you say ‘this guy is crazy – he won 25 titles…’

“But I keep saying this because people don’t know what is going on behind the scenes. Sometimes we, on this side of the camera, analyse things with a different perspective.”

Mourinho will provide punditry for beIN on Thursday’s Asian Cup group match between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, as well as for Saturday’s Premier League game between Arsenal and his former club Chelsea.

It is understood beIN are paying Mourinho in excess of £120,000 for his two appearances.