Jose Mourinho will be forced to abandon his ‘second home’ after Manchester United confirmed plans to tour Australia next summer.
Mourinho has made no secret of his preference to stage pre-season preparations at the UCLA campus in Los Angeles, using the state of the art facilities with former clubs Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid before taking over at Old Trafford in 2016.
United have been based there in each of the last two summers but the announcement of games against Leeds and Perth Glory in Australia next July confirmed the club’s first tour away from the US in three years.
It’s still not certain if Mourinho will be in charge come the end of the season, with his position under intense scrutiny after a turbulent start to the campaign. But it’s understood he has been consulted on the tour arrangements.
Still, he will be sorry to leave UCLA which has been dubbed his ‘second home.’
Speaking about the facilities last year, the United manager said: “Here we have everything. The organisation is very good. Since 2004 I am still searching for the first mistake. The first mistake never arrived. It’s amazing.”
United’s hierarchy always planned to tour elsewhere next summer, with the Far East also likely to be incorporated as they bid to extend their commercial reach.
Mourinho endured a miserable tour of China in his first summer at the club, which saw a planned derby with Manchester City cancelled due to an unplayable pitch in Beijing.
United will play Perth Glory on July 13 and fierce rivals Leeds on July 17. Both matches will be played at the Optus Stadium in Perth.
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said: “Our pre-season tour is an integral part of the squad’s preparation for the forthcoming season and after what will be a 44-year absence since we last played in Perth we are delighted to be returning to Western Australia to play not just one, but two games against Perth Glory and Leeds United.
“As well as preparing for the season ahead, the club will also have the opportunity to engage with our loyal fans in Australia, who last got the chance to see us play in Sydney in 2013.”
Mourinho is under to secure a top-four finish after predecessors David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal were both sacked for failing to qualify for the Champions League.
Woodward has given his backing to his under-fire manager.
Speaking to investors on the New York Stock Exchange last week, he said: “On the pitch, we remain well-positioned in the Champions League. Although we’ve had a mixed start to our domestic campaign, the squad and the manager are fully united and their determination to regain our momentum in the Premier League.”