German legend Bastian Schweinsteiger has opened up about his time with Manchester United. Schweinsteiger believes the Red Devils should have won more trophies during his stint with the club, especially after signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba.
The German joined Manchester United in the summer of 2015 after a trophy-laden career at Bayern Munich. Schweinsteiger made 31 appearances for the club in his first season under Louis van Gaal.
However, the arrival of Jose Mourinho in 2016, and a ligament injury stalled his run with the team. Bastian Schweinsteiger made just four appearances for Manchester United in the 2016-17 campaign.
Speaking about his time at United to BBC Radio Five (via Manchester Evening News), the 37-year-old said:
“In the first year under Louis van Gaal, until I got injured, when Leicester won the title, we were up there and battling for the first position. We were very successful, I think, even without big signings like Zlatan (Ibrahimovic) or Paul (Pogba). We should have won much more with those big signings, except I couldn’t play with them.”
Schweinsteiger added that he still has respect for Mourinho, although he hardly got a look-in during the Portuguese’s first season in charge.
“I didn’t play a lot (under Mourinho) unfortunately, but I still respect him. He’s a great manager who has won a lot of trophies. It was a weird and difficult situation; he never really explained to me why. At the end of the day, it is in the past; it’s history. But I loved playing for United; the fans were absolutely amazing. I loved every single moment.”
Maybe I didn’t play because I played under Pep Guardiola: Schweinsteiger on his lack of playing time under Mourinho at Manchester United
Schweinsteiger also went on to speculate on why he didn’t play much under Mourinho at Manchester United. The German suggested that it could have been because his way of playing had traces of the style deployed by Pep Guardiola, under whom he played at Bayern Munich.
“It (Not playing) was maybe because I played under Pep Guardiola and had played Pep Guardiola football, which he (Mourinho) doesn’t like so much, I think. Still, I also liked how Mourinho was, actually, coaching.”
Ibrahimovic, who had praised Mourinho on multiple occasions, finally got to work with him at Manchester United. He scored 28 goals in 46 appearances in the 2016-17 season, helping the Red Devils win the Europa League and EFL Cup.
“Of course the game style is different – I think that is why Zlatan left (Barcelona). It was not so much football; sometimes it was more direct. But he (Mourinho) had success with his teams. It was just a strange feeling.”
The German, however, revealed that he received an apology from Jose Mourinho later on. But it was too late by then for him to save his Manchester United career.
“I don’t think it was his personal opinion. At the end of the day, he apologised to me and said it was a big mistake. It was just too late. The decision, I think, was made before he actually arrived.”
Schweinsteiger eventually left Old Trafford in 2017 to join MLS side Chicago Fire. He made 92 appearances for the American side before hanging up his boots in January 2020.