Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho believes he can emulate Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger by coaching into his late 60s.
Mourinho will face his old rival Wenger for the last time in an Arsenal match when the Gunners visit Old Trafford on Sunday.
Mourinho’s longest managerial stint at any club was his first spell at Chelsea, which lasted for three years and three months.
He spent three years at Real Madrid and two years each at Porto, Inter Milan and in a second spell at Stamford Bridge.
Wenger is 68 and will step down at the end of the season after almost 22 years with the Gunners.
Asked if he could emulate the Frenchman’s longevity, Mourinho said: “For sure. I will have to change clubs because you (media) don’t allow me to stay here!
“I would see myself doing it but the new concept of media, social media, the pundit industry, the way people can express and influence the opinion, it is too much pressure – not just for the manager – but also for the club.
“It is impossible for someone to resist for a long time, especially without any kind of success.
“To stay a manager, to have four or five years to try to get a trophy and to improve the team, I don’t think you allow that any more.”
But the Portuguese reckons he can stay at United longer than his other clubs after confessing his days of itchy feet are over.
“I think so. At other clubs, I was already thinking ‘what next?’” he admitted.
“I had things I really wanted to do – I had to go to Italy, I had to go to Spain.
“At this moment, there isn’t anything around the corner and I don’t want to do anything different to what I am doing now.”
Mourinho has won trophies since his time at Porto, but he is convinced he is a better manager now than ever.
– More mature –
“Yes, until the point you lose your motivation, you keep improving,” he added.
“So yes, in every way. My passion for the job is the same and my sense of responsibility and emotional control (is better). I am much more mature too.
“At every level – training, matches, relationships with players – it feels like everything is deja vu.
“It is very rare now there is something in my professional life that I am surprised with or I don’t know how to react to. So, the more experience, the better you are.”
Mourinho points to the example of Jupp Heynckes to back up his theory.
At 72, Heynckes returned to manage Bayern Munich last October for a third spell in charge after being retired for four years following 32 years in management.
“You have the example now of Mr Heynckes. He was retired, playing with his grandchildren, and suddenly he comes back and he is even better than before,” said Mourinho.
As for Wenger, Mourinho has had many confrontations with the Frenchman but admitted his rival’s “Invincibles” team from 2003-04, who were undefeated as they romped to the Premier League title, made him a better coach.
“I am going to remember him as a big opponent, as the manager of the Invincibles – the Invincibles I met when I arrived in the country in 2004, the Invincibles that made me a better coach. That is the way I would remember him,” he added.
Mourinho is also convinced Wenger will continue in management.
“I don’t think he will end his career. Until I have different information, he is only going to end his career as Arsenal manager,” he said.