Manchester United manager José Mourinho has been discussing Bastian Schweinsteiger’s final few months at the club.
The former German international completed a move to MLS side Chicago Fire earlier this week, bringing an end to a somewhat dispiriting 18 months at Old Trafford in which he made just 22 starts.
While the player himself is keen to distance himself from any hint of malice to either Mourinho or his former employers, the manager has expressed his regret at how he treated the midfielder during their time together.
Speaking to the media ahead of this weekend’s home match against West Brom, Mourinho said:
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 31, 2017
“He’s in the category of players that I feel sorry for something that I did to him.
“I don’t want to speak about him as a player, I don’t want to speak as I buy or not to buy. I want to speak about him as a professional, as a human being.
“The last thing I told him before he left ‘I was not right with you once, I have to be right with you now’
“So when he was asking me to let him leave I had to say ‘yes, you can leave’ because I did it once, I cannot do it twice.
“So I feel sorry for the first period with him, he knows that. I am happy that he knows because I told him.
“I will miss a good guy, a good professional, a good influence in training – a very good influence.
“I could not stop him to go even knowing that until the end of the season we have so many matches and we would probably need him for a few matches or a few periods.
“I had to let him go and now publicly wish him and his wife a very happy life in Chicago.”
When the question was put to Mourinho if he regretted how he treated Schweinsteiger, he answered succinctly:
“Yes, I do.
“We had a huge squad in the beginning. But, after knowing him as a professional, and as a person, the way he was behaving and the way he was respecting my decisions as a manager, yes, I regret it and it is no problem for me to admit it and he knows that because I told him.”
Mourinho faces into this weekend’s game with a number of injury concerns. The manager confirmed that defenders Phil Jones and Chris Smalling face significant periods on the sidelines – possibly for the rest of the season – while Paul Pogba is expected to be absent once again with a hamstring injury. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ander Herrera are suspended, but Wayne Rooney should be fit to return having missed two England matches over the international break.