United feel Jose is clos­est to Fergie

> United have no con­cerns about the Por­tuguese’s tem­per­a­ment and have been im­pressed with Mour­inho’s ca­pac­ity to mo­ti­vate in the same way that Fer­gu­son did

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS - BY IAN HER­BERT

MANCH­ESTER UNITED are re­laxed about Jose Mour­inho’s po­ten­tial to bring con­flict and con­tro­versy to Old Traf­ford and con­sider him the clos­est equiv­a­lent they have had to Sir Alex Fer­gu­son as a mo­ti­va­tor, de­spite the club’s three de­feats in a week.

Mour­inho’s ca­pac­ity to heap neg­a­tive pub­lic­ity on his clubs led Chelsea to en­cour­age him to adopt a less com­bat­ive pro­file when he re­turned to the club in 2013, though when the out­fit strug­gled last sea­son he was in per­pet­ual con­flict with op­po­si­tion man­agers, the me­dia and, to some ex­tent, fans.

United have no con­cerns about the Por­tuguese’s tem­per­a­ment and have been hugely im­pressed al­ready with Mour­inho’s ca­pac­ity to mo­ti­vate in the same way that Fer­gu­son did.

Though his in­cen­di­ary na­ture was one of the prin­ci­pal rea­sons why Barcelona pre­ferred Pep Guardi­ola as man­ager in 2008, an un­com­pro­mis­ing stance char­ac­terised Fer­gu­son’s ap­proach to man­age­ment, too. Mour­inho is not seen as any dif­fer­ent with his abil­ity to cir­cle the wag­ons.

His ap­par­ent de­sire to un­der­stand the cul­ture of United has al­ready seen him seek out Sir Bobby Charl­ton to talk in depth.

Their time to­gether is un­der­stood to have ex­tended be­yond the highly pub­li­cised – and seem­ingly chore­ographed – en­counter on the car park at the United’s train­ing ground in late May.

Mour­inho has been ap­pre­ci­ated by many of his play­ers over the years for act­ing as a pro­tec­tive shield when there is crit­i­cism for play­ers and this is what United see in him far more than they did his pre­de­ces­sor Louis van Gaal.

It is un­der­stood that Zla­tan Ibrahi­movich is prov­ing to be an in­di­vid­ual in the same mould – a hugely in­flu­en­tial dress­ing room fig­ure al­ready.

The club’s san­guine re­sponse to the early dif­fi­cul­ties also stems from a sense of what Mour­inho brings.

Goal­keeper David de Gea turned away Real Madrid this sum­mer for the chance to play un­der him. There was a prospect that the Spa­niard would have left had the club come back in for him after their last minute ef­forts in the sum­mer of 2015 failed but he made it clear this sum­mer that he wasn’t in­ter­ested in this suitor.

Where Mour­inho has dif­fered from Fer­gu­son is in his will­ing­ness to crit­i­cise play­ers pub­licly.

Luke Shaw, who has im­pressed this sea­son, was among those called out by the man­ager on Sun­day and Fer­gu­son is un­likely to think this a prof­itable way of man­ag­ing. This is one as­pect of his man­age­ment which has not im­pressed some United sup­port­ers.

“After a game I would al­ways try to avoid crit­i­cis­ing the play­ers,” Fer­gu­son said after he had re­tired.

“They had enough pres­sure, with­out me pil­ing it on in pub­lic. I save my crit­i­cism for the pri­vate ses­sions away from pry­ing eyes.

“I tried to em­ploy heat shields to de­flect crit­i­cism from a player who had mis­placed a pass that gave away a goal, or another who had missed a sit­ter that could have won us a game.

“It was al­ways easy to give the press some­thing else to write about – a cou­ple of de­ci­sions that had gone against you – a penalty that should have won us the game, a long in­jury list or a pile-up of fix­tures.

“Most play­ers are mor­ti­fied when they let down their team. My first in­cli­na­tion was al­ways to de­fend the player and sort it out af­ter­wards. There is no ben­e­fit in en­gag­ing in pub­lic hang­ings. It just doesn’t buy you any­thing.” – The In­de­pen­dent

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