New Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has reportedly withdrawn from coaching the English side at Soccer Aid in order to focus on his new role. The 53-year-old manager was set to play a starring role in the annual charity game, but has pulled out because he feared his presence could have overshadowed the event.
The game at Old Trafford would have been Mourinho's first public appearance in England since he signed a three-year contract with United. In all likelihood, Mourinho's media commitments would have been overtaken by interest in his new job.
Mourinho is now expected to hand over the reins to Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce, who was originally set to be his assistant for the day, according to the Daily Mail. Although Mourinho was under no pressure from United to withdraw from the planned engagement, he is said to have feared his presence would have become a distraction.
Meanwhile, the new United boss revealed recently that he wants to forget the club's last three years of underachievement. "I think I prefer to forget the past three years, I prefer to focus on the giant club I have in my hands now and I think what the fans are expecting me to say is that I want to win. I think the players need to listen – I want to win," the new United manager said.
He also claimed there has always been an "empathy" between himself and the United fans. "I was pushed by that feeling to say sometimes things my clubs were not happy with," he said after signing his three-year contract with United. "For example when I won with Real Madrid I said the best team had lost. Not many people were happy with that."