Jose Mourinho has been discussing our Montreal training base as well as Filipe Luis’s future.
The manager was speaking at a pre-match conference ahead of our International Champions Cup opener against New York Red Bulls, before the team flew south from Canada. He answered questions on the transfer window, why the club chose Montreal as our base and the future for football in North America.
As is always the case when the transfer window is open, rumours are rife, but the manager was keen to stress his plan is simple. He is happy with what he has, and the challenge for his players is to maintain the exceptionally high standards they achieved last year and then surpass them to counter the threat posed by our big-spending rivals.
However if a player leaves, as he expects Filipe Luis to soon, he and the club must be ready to find a replacement.
‘We are a very happy group,’ stated Mourinho. ‘The players feel it. We are a club in peace. We are a club where our future has to be bright.
‘At the moment we don’t want players. It’s simple. We must be ready because it looks like the market is open, and because it looks like the market is open there is always a risk somebody comes for one of our players or one of our players shows an interest in leaving. We must be ready to answer to it.
‘If somebody speaks about other midfield players, it’s not true because I have Ramires, Matic, Fabregas, Mikel, Loftus-Cheek and Oscar.
‘But imagine if somebody comes with a bid on 29 August and we are happy with the bid and the player is happy to leave,’ continued Mourinho. ‘We must be ready. If we speak about new players at the moment we speak about the balance of the squad, which is a balanced squad.
‘In this moment we need a left-back because I think we are selling Filipe Luis now or tomorrow. We need to go the market, we need to find a club that accepts a bid before 31 August, and we are going for a left-back. In other positions we have no space.’
The local media present were excited by one transfer rumour linking our former striker and legend Didier Drogba with a move to Montreal Impact, the MLS side based in the city. They wanted to know what Mourinho, who has spent nearly a week in this part of Quebec, would advise his former striker.
‘What can I say? I can say if he doesn’t have a house yet the hotel is good to stay. I can say that I saw some nice houses when I went for a walk to the top point. The training ground is good, in very good conditions.
‘And the people love football. If not they would not be at the training ground every day, stopping us every day when we go for a walk. The weather is nice for now but I cannot speak about the winter! The colours of the club are also nice!’
He then provided further detail on why the club chose Montreal as for training.
‘I don’t want to travel. I want to stay in the same place all the time. We made one exception today to travel and sleep one night away. We want to have a base.
‘We wanted to find a place where we can have a base and to train every day, to sleep in the same hotel every day - to arrive, open the bags and only close them when we go back to London.
‘It’s a short distance to go home because after three days we have to play the Community Shield so it wouldn’t be good for us to be in LA or Seattle and travel back from there. In seven hours we are in London.
‘It’s a new training ground, so we knew the pitch would be good. All the conditions are good for us.’
We will have more from the manager tomorrow when he talks about MLS and the rise in popularity of football in this part of the world…