MANCHESTER UNITED

José Mourinho appointed Manchester United boss

The Portuguese coach has been named as the new manager of Manchester United, according to Sky Sports, replacing Louis van Gaal.

José Mourinho appointed Manchester United boss
LEON NEAL AFP

Sky Sports News HQ reporter Andy Burton was camped outside Jose Mourinho's house on Thursday in anticipation of the Portuguese and during the afternoon reported:

"To confirm: He has signed his deal. He went to a central London hotel, where he met United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and signed the United contract. He returned home with documents in his hand and a bottle of wine. It comes on a very special and poignant day for Mourinho. It's been 12 years since he won the Champions League with Porto."

Mourinho signs on the dotted line for Manchester United

AS broke the story on Saturday morning ahead of the FA Cup final between Manchester United and Crystal Palace, which proved to be Louis van Gaal's swansong. United won the match 2-1 after extra time, handing Van Gaal his first trophy as Old Trafford boss in his final match in charge. 

It was during that 2003-04 campaign that Mourinho announced himself to the world. Facing Manchester United in the last 16, the unfancied Portuguese side defeated Alex Ferguson’s team and Mourinho’s touchline celebration when Costinha scored in the 90th minute was the first of many that would play their part in creating perhaps the most divisive manager in the history of the game. Porto’s unlikely success served to propel Mourinho into the top tier of coaches and a big-money assignment at Chelsea swiftly followed.

However, Mourinho’s destiny was always Manchester United. It was a surprise that he wasn’t chosen to succeed Ferguson when the Scot made his move upstairs at Old Trafford. Mourinho was sacked by Real Madrid a week after Ferguson stepped down but the decision to appoint David Moyes had already been taken, with the outgoing manager’s blessing.

Far from being a seamless transition, the Moyes era lasted less than a full season and ushered in a period of underachievement that Van Gaal was hired to arrest. Under the Iron Tulip, Manchester United fared little better, last week’s FA Cup triumph the only slight alleviation from a two-season slog that produced more pained expressions than plaudits as Van Gaal’s side lurched from one insipid performance to the next.

The shadow of Ferguson looms large over Old Trafford and neither of his successors have come close to matching his achievements or replicating his aura at the club. Mourinho will be expected to do both from the outset. There will be no Champions League for the Portuguese next season, Van Gaal having left the side in fifth place in the Premier League, but a serious title challenge will be expected. With Mourinho now installed as Old Trafford boss, his first task will be to trim the fat from an underperforming squad and identify targets for the board to pursue during the summer.