Saturday 23 February 2019

'Times have changed' - John Barnes on why Jose Mourinho has fallen behind his Premier League rivals

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino with Jose Mourinho
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino with Jose Mourinho
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

John Barnes believes that Jose Mourinho's failure to produce harmony in the Manchester United dressing room is undermining his hopes of success at Old Trafford.

Speaking to Independent.ie as he promotes his new DVD Poetry In Motion, the Liverpool and England legend has suggests the man-management style used by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is more effective than the the abrasive approach used by Mourinho, who is under increasing pressure after a 3-0 home defeat against Tottenham on Monday.

"Times have changed and it’s not as easy for Mourinho any more," Barnes told us. "He had all the money and all the best players in his first spell at Chelsea and that was a big advantage for him, but he is the same manager now as he was 10 years ago.

"The only difference now is that results are not going his way and and we are seeing a different reaction from him, but you cannot change the way Mourinho is as a person.

"Klopp may have a different way of handling players and that is getting results at Liverpool, but that is his personality and how he goes about his work. What you cannot do is change a character like Mourinho who has had great success in his career and I would not write him off yet.

"That said, you need harmony in a football club for it to be successful and while we saw a good Liverpool team that went close to challenging for the Premier League under Brendan Rodgers a few years back, the unity you need from players in the dressing room and fans was not quite there.

"Some Liverpool supporters didn’t really believe in Rodgers and when it got to the crucial point in the season and maybe the players shared those feelings. What we have with Klopp at the moment is a believe that the club are moving forward together and that’s important."

Barnes believes the faith Liverpool fans have in Jurgen Klopp means he does not need to win a major trophy this season, despite his failure to get his hands on silverware after three defeats in Cup Finals during this time at Liverpool.

"Liverpool fans love Klopp and clearly the players and the owners are right behind him as well," adds the former winger who won two league titles during his time at the club.

"Klopp can do anything right now and the fans will back him. When he said he wanted to stand by Loris Karius after his Champions League final disasters last season, the fans would have backed him despite their reservations because they trust Klopp implicitly.

"If this manager said Liverpool were signing Mickey Mouse next week then the fans would go with it because they believe in this manager and on his part, he understands what this club is all about and that maybe is not the case with Jose Mourinho at Man United right now.

"Would the fans be happy if Liverpool won the League Cup and finished seventh? Of course not, so the idea that Klopp needs to win silverware is ridiculous.

"What Liverpool need to do is progress from last season. That means finishing higher than fourth and if they can win a Cup Final, that would be fantastic, but knock-out matches come down to luck as much as judgement a lot of the time."

John Barnes' new DVD Poetry In Motion looks back on his remarkable career with Watford, Liverpool and England and is available now.

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