Friday 18 October 2019

'I love that about him' - Gary Neville on Jose Mourinho's contentious celebrations after Juventus victory

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho gestures to Juventus fans
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho gestures to Juventus fans
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Gary Neville believes Jose Mourinho has silenced his critics after Wednesday night's Champions League win against Juventus in Turin, as he backed the Manchester United manager to continue to cause mischief after his contentious post-match celebrations in Turin.

Mourinho made gestures towards the Juventus fans after suggesting he has been verbally abused by the Italian fans throughout the match, sparking accusations that he took the gloss off his side's fine victory.

Yet United legend Neville has backed Mourinho's behaviour and encouraged him to continue to push the boundaries as he looks to revive his Old Trafford career.

"I think there should be reaction and passion at the end of a match," Neville told Sky Sports. "Some people might may not like that but I love that about him.

"To me, Jose's best qualities were always that he was impossible when he was losing and impossible when he was winning and it was always enthralling to watch and he always brought everyone along the line.

"When I think of him in the press conference after the Juventus game and some of the one liners he came out with, compared to where he was a few weeks ago, and the day before the Newcastle game, that's a massive difference. He has hung in there and shown determination."

Neville suspects Mourinho was close to getting sacked before some improved performances and results in the last month, but he never believed reports suggesting the United players had turned against him.

"It was getting close, it was feeling like something was happening and the world was collapsing around the team, the club, the manager and it felt like there was going to be a change, and I think the Chelsea game was the big one," he added, reflecting on the 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge last month.

"Even though you could point towards Newcastle (3-2 home win), which was huge, nearly winning at Stamford Bridge and getting within a second of winning will have given the players confidence and since then they have grown and grown.

"It hasn't been with incredible performance levels but with a real doggedness and determination. People were strongly suggesting that players were not with the manager a month ago. I never bought into that.

"You don't win away from home or show the level of determination unless the players are there fighting until the end. Even though everything might not be perfect and there might be one or two issues that have been rumbling between Jose and players, I think generally the players on the pitch are showing they are fighting for the shirt, for the badge and the coaching staff."

Mourinho and United face another huge test on Sunday, as they take on Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League.

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