Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is prepared for the “circus” that will accompany Jose Mourinho’s return to the Premier League.
Eleven months after being sacked by United, Mourinho returns to the dugout at the London Stadium on Saturday when his new Tottenham side play West Ham.
Spurs limited access to Mourinho’s first news conference on Thursday and turned away scores of journalists.
“Jose coming back is going to be a spectacle,” said Solskjaer.
The Norwegian had a glimpse of what was coming when he saw a television broadcast before Friday’s news conference to preview Sunday’s trip to Sheffield United, where it was made clear journalists would be asking about Mourinho, and the availability of the man he replaced at Spurs, Mauricio Pochettino, who has long-been viewed as a potential United boss.
Solskjaer tried to take command of the situation before he was even asked a question.
“Sorry to disappoint you but it is not going to be about Jose or Mauricio,” he said.
Nevertheless, three of Solskjaer’s first six answers were about those two, with a further question at the end about midfielder Nemanja Matic liking a social media post which suggested a further reunion with Mourinho – who has previously bought the Serbian when he was in charge at Chelsea and United.
“It’s good to have Jose back, especially for you guys,” said Solskjaer. “Maybe for me as well because you can talk and write about everything else.”
Tottenham’s trip to Old Trafford for a Premier League game on 4 December will provide an unavoidable link between Solskjaer and the man he replaced, initially on a temporary basis, in the middle of last season.
Pochettino’s name will be a longer lasting distraction.
The Argentine is favourite to be the next United boss and while club sources have repeatedly stressed how they view Solskjaer as a long-term appointment, any negative result is bound to be followed by suggestions the man who took Tottenham to last season’s Champions League final should be appointed in the Norwegian’s place.
Yet Solskjaer said: “It doesn’t bother me at all because I’ve got the best job in the world.
“I am sure if you are in or out of a job and you are a manager, you would want this job, so it doesn’t really matter whatever happens around it.
“I’ve got to focus on my job at Manchester United and do it as well as I can. I speak with Ed (Woodward) and the owners all the time about how we are going to move the club forward.
“That doesn’t change if some other clubs change their managers.”