JOSE MOURINHO watched Manchester United open their US tour with a win – then admitted it was “mission impossible” to sign Cristiano Ronaldo.
Real Madrid star Ronaldo has been linked with a return to former club United after being investigated for alleged tax evasion in Spain and making clear his anger over the issue.
But after watching United sweep aside LA Galaxy 5-2 at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles, Mourinho killed off any hope of an emotional Old Trafford return for Ronaldo.
“We have never thought about it, because he’s such an important player for his club, of great economic power, where we have not been able to find for whatever reason that could have made us think that Ronaldo could leave,” said Mourinho.
“I’m not a defender of my club once you waste time on players who are mission impossible.”
Mourinho also dismissed United signing Ronaldo’s Real team-mate Alvaro Morata, after negotiations between the two clubs reached an impasse over their respective valuations.
United valued Morata at £65m, Real wanted £79m. United called off their pursuit of Morata once they had secured Romelu Lukaku from Everton for £75m, with Mourinho admitting the Morata deal was unlikely to be resurrected.
“It’s a question for Florentino [Perez, Real President],” said Mourinho. “What I said today is what I say today. Clubs put price tags on players.
“He belongs to Madrid. Madrid has decided and we have not come to an agreement. It’s simple. It’s a shame.
“He’s a player who made it to the first team with me [at Real]. We have a special liking for him, he’s someone special. I enjoyed watching his evolution at Juventus and Madrid. It’s like that, but I don’t think he can end with us.”
Marcus Rashford bagged a double, with further goals from Marouane Fellaini, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Anthony Martial ensuring a comfortable win for United, who conceded two late goals after Mourinho changed his entire team at the break.
United played with three at the back, a departure from their usual back-four, with Mourinho happy with the way his players adjusted to the new formation, which will be used next season if they need to adapt to certain opponents.
“We trained five days,” said Mourinho. “In these five days we trained two days in relation to this system.
“The improvements are in relation to four hours of work, so I couldn’t expect much better. It’s something we have to keep working on, in case during the season we decide to play three at the back.
“We did it twice against Rostov last season and maybe we want to do it more times.”
Rashford, who looked sharp in his 45-minute outing, has bulked up over the summer and looks far more physically imposing for defenders to face.
“It’s just the natural evolution of a kid,” said Mourinho. “You change your body when you’re a young kid – he’s already taller than when I arrived 13 months ago.
“He’s three centimetres taller and he put some muscle on, but without any kind of specific work, because his speed is his most important quality.
“Last season in this period everyone was saying it would be difficult for me to play him, but he was one of the top players in terms of appearances for the team.
“Last season he wasn’t scoring goals and missing a lot of chances, which was not a drama, because that’s part of the evolution. We know he’s going to score more goals than last season.”
Mourinho also said United have no vice-captain, having handed the captain’s armband to Michael Carrick following Wayne Rooney’s return to Everton.
“We don’t have a vice-captain, a captain is enough,” said Mourinho.