Manchester United Football Club let Bastian Schweinsteiger leave this week, as he headed for the United States of America to play for the Chicago Fire. The 32-year-old had only played four times for the Red Devils, and it always looked as though the writing was on the wall.
The German was signed by Louis van Gaal just over eighteen months ago, and he was a real important member of the first-team squad until he picked up a season-ending injury in February.
When Jose Mourinho took charge, it never looked like Bastian would get the chance to really prove his worth to the manager, as he was exiled from the first-team squad and made to train with the reserves.
Now today, the self-proclaimed Special One was speaking to the media ahead of the West Bromwich Albion game, and admitted that he regrets his treatment of Bastian Schweinsteiger – and you know what, fair play to him for coming out and saying this in public.
“Bastian is in the category of players that I feel sorry for something that I did to him,” Jose Mourinho is quoted as saying by ManUtd.com. “I don’t want to speak about him as a player, I don’t want to speak about him as whether I would buy him or not to buy him. I want to speak about him as a professional.”
“I want to speak about him as a human being and that was the last thing I told him before he left – ‘I was not right with you once, I have to be right to 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’m happy that he knows because I told him and I will miss a good guy, a good professional, a good influence in training. A very good influence. So I couldn’t stop him going, even though, until the end of the season, we have so many matches and probably we would need him for a few matches or a few periods. I had to let him go and now publicly we wish him and his wife a very happy life in Chicago.”
“Yes, yes, I do [regret his treatment last summer],” he added. “I would let him be in the squad. I knew, at that moment, we had too many players. If you remember, at that time, we had many players in this doubtful situation and we still had Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay and we had Andreas Pereira and Tyler Blackett and James Wilson.”
“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.”
At the time, it always felt like a harsh decision to completely rule him out of playing for the first-team, and Schweinsteiger’s attitude was absolutely exemplary. He didn’t moan and kept working hard, and eventually, that was rewarded by a handful of appearances – albeit most of them came from off the bench.
It’s nice to read stuff like this from our manager, because at the end of the day he has tough footballing decisions to make. I’m gutted to see Schweinsteiger gone, but he simply had to leave for the good of his career and I wish him all the best with the Chicago Fire.