SINGAPORE, February 24 – Sacked Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said Wednesday he is “happy not to have a job” at the moment and kept coy about taking the helm at Manchester United, saying that was “a one million-dollar question”.
Mourinho spoke before students at a suburban secondary school in Singapore in conjunction with a scholarship foundation set up by Valencia Football Club owner Peter Lim, who is from the city-state.
Asked by a student United fan whether he would be the next manager of the English Premier League club, Mourinho replied: “That’s a one million-dollar question that nobody knows, and I’m the first one not to know.”
The Portuguese also said he was amused by all the media speculation about his next job following his sacking in December after a disastrous start to the season.
“I read so many different things… Another day it says I go to China, another day it says I go to Italy,” he told reporters later.
“I go to Milan and people say I’m going back to Inter. I’m here and probably you’re saying I go to Singapore national team.
“Every day new things are coming, but the reality is that I have no job and at this moment I’m happy not to have a job.”
Since his sacking, Mourinho has been increasingly linked to Louis van Gaal’s job at United as the Dutchman continues to struggle at Old Trafford.
Press reports in Italy at the weekend said Mourinho will become Manchester United’s next manager. The reports cited a sister of former Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti as the source.
Other reports claimed Mourinho had a “pre-contract” agreement with United.
Van Gaal has said he would be upset if it was true that the club have approached Mourinho behind his back.
Mourinho arrived in Singapore on Monday and is expected to stay for a week, according to media reports.
The 53-year-old Portugese admitted that while he misses football, he will wait for the right opportunity.
“If I have to return tomorrow (to football), I will return tomorrow. But I always feel that it is better to wait, not rush. It is better to be calm to wait for the right moment, for the right move,” he said.
“I think starting the next season with a new club, a new project, is probably the best thing for me.”
Mourinho said at the Singapore secondary school he was happy to be involved in charitable activities and praised Valencia owner Lim for his work outside of the sport.
“I’ve known him for many, many years, before he was involved in football in Europe,” he said.
“I think he is more proud about what he does in charities than he is with football. Football in our level in Europe is an industry, football is at the highest level. I think charity and supporting different kinds of causes is what really makes people be different.”