Saturday 23 February 2019

Gary Neville ponders what might happen at Man United if Mauricio Pochettino replaces Jose Mourinho

Gary Neville furious that news of Jose Mourinho's imminent sacking may have been leaked
Gary Neville furious that news of Jose Mourinho's imminent sacking may have been leaked

Gary Neville has admitted he finds it hard to watch Manchester United since Jose Mourinho set about changing the club's identity, but he has suggested that replacing the Portuguese manager may not provide a quick solution.

The United manager has come under fire after switching United's style away from a high tempo attacking game into a more defensive approach, yet Mourinho has insisted he is making progress at the club after a second place finish in the Premier League last season.

Neville questioned the United board for their failure to back Mourinho in the summer transfer market, but he told the Second Captain's podcast that the brand of football being promoted by the former Chelsea manager is not living up to the club's traditions.

"Ajax, Manchester United and Barcelona are the three bastions of European football in terms of style of play," said Neville.

"United have always played 4-4-1-1, 4-4-2, with two wide players. It’s ingrained in the club. Don’t change, don’t make short-term decisions.

"The fans weren’t happy, the stadium was starting to have empty seats and then they think, ‘right, we need to win’ and they bring in Jose Mourinho, who likes powerful, robust, strong players.

"Out went nearly all those 11 and Mourinho brings in Lukaku, Matic, Fred, Bailly, a wave of players who suit his style.

"Mourinho is happy to sit back a bit deeper and have a more robust, physical player. As a Manchester United fan it’s painful to watch."

Neville went on to suggest the changes Mourinho have made will take a long time to change, as he considered the prospect of Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino taking over at Old Trafford.

"Let’s say Mauricio Pochettino comes in next – he likes hungry 23, 24-year-olds, he likes pushing up the pitch and playing high, he likes players who can press from the front. How many Manchester United forwards do you see that run about like the Tottenham ones?"

Pochettino signed a new contract to remain at Tottenham earlier this year, but he has been installed as one of the bookies' favourites to take over at United if the club decide to make a change at some point in the next 12 months.

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