Jose Mourinho has refuted suggestions that he vetoed a move to bring Cristiano Ronaldo back to Manchester United.
Reports surfaced in the build-up to United’s Premier League clash with Burnley that Ronaldo was open to a return to Old Trafford in the close-season, only for Mourinho to refuse the opportunity to sign the 33-year-old.
However, speaking after United’s 2-0 victory at Turf Moor, Mourinho was quick to rubbish those claims, insisting that signing Ronaldo – who he managed during his time at Real Madrid – was never an option.
“Cristiano was never on my table to say yes or no,” Mourinho, when asked about the speculation, told reporters.
“Cristiano to come to us, it was never on my table.”
Romelu Lukaku’s first-half double proved enough for United to claim the points at Burnley and ease some of the pressure that had been building on Mourinho.
Paul Pogba failed to add a third from the spot after the interval, while Marcus Rashford was sent off for a clash with Phil Bardsley, but it was nonetheless a deserved win for the visitors, with Lukaku missing two golden chances to score again in the closing stages.
Mourinho praised the fans for their vociferous backing of himself and the players, which started from the moment several stayed behind in the Stretford End on Monday to applaud after the 3-0 loss to Spurs.
“I think we start winning this match because of Old Trafford after Spurs,” Mourinho said. “We lose at home, [and] if the fans react bad, the team loses confidence, the team feels pressure and the next match is more difficult.
“We lost at home, the fans were amazing and understood the performance was good. The result was bad, so it was not a sad week. I feel a bit sorry we didn’t score a couple of goals in front of them because it would be magic for them.”
When asked how he felt to see fans offer such clear support for his position, Mourinho replied: “The manager is not important, the team is important. The manager does not play.
“I have miles and miles and miles on the touchline to cope with every different reaction from the crowd. I am really happy with the performance, the result and to give that good feeling to the fans.”