Saturday, July 22, 2017

Winning, success and single-mindedness – Neville likens Mourinho to Ferguson

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 13 Mar 2017

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Jose Mourinho’s determination to win at all costs has drawn comparison with legendary manager Alex Ferguson from former Manchester United captain Gary Neville.

Ferguson enjoyed a trophy-laden career at Old Trafford, overseeing 38 titles in 27 years – including 13 Premier League crowns and two Champions Leagues – before his retirement in 2013.

Former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Inter boss Mourinho was seen by some as the obvious heir to Ferguson’s throne at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’, but the club turned to David Moyes instead.

Mourinho was eventually appointed in May, following the sacking of Moyes’ successor Louis van Gaal, and Neville sees similarities between the Portuguese tactician and Ferguson.

“Winning, success and single-mindedness to do whatever it takes to win – that is the biggest similarity between Mourinho and Ferguson,” Neville told Omnisport.

Since taking the job in Manchester, Mourinho has steadily improved United and adhered to the long-standing traditions of attacking football at Old Trafford.

With Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly brought to the club, United have won the Community Shield and EFL Cup and are in contention to lift the Europa League and retain the FA Cup, but they are struggling to break into the Premier League’s top four.

United – on a 17-match unbeaten run in the league following their frustrating draw at home to Bournemouth last time out – are six points adrift of the Champions League spots with two games in hand on fourth-placed Liverpool.

Neville, who won eight Premier League titles and two Champions League crowns after coming through the youth ranks at United, believes the club are on the right track with Mourinho at the helm.

“There are still questions to answer but they’re better in terms of style of play, and the profile of player is better,” the 42-year-old former England international added. “They’ve won a trophy again which is a positive.

“I think what needs to happen is obviously Mourinho needs more than one or two transfer windows to correct things.

“Over the last two or three years, there’s been a quite a lot of players signed for the club who probably don’t fit the profile that Mourinho wants or maybe United want.

“But with three or four more buys this summer, there is potential for the club to strengthen. What I would say is with the signings of Pogba, Ibrahimovic, Mkhitaryan and Bailly, United are in a far better situation than they were 12 months ago.

“I was hearing things that United won’t attract the big players anymore, or the best players in the world, but that has obviously happened. So they are in a far better position as a club. I just think the issue is they aren’t able to break into the top four at the moment.

“I was more worried 12 months ago where the club were going in terms of signings and the style of play. Now I’m a lot happier with the direction they’re going.”

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