Monday, March 09, 2009

Mourinho talks up United job prospects: But is he the right man to replace Ferguson?

Over the weekend Fergie let it be known that he isn't even thinking about retiring, he jokingly said "they might have to carry me out". Well as far as jokes go, that's fine, but no one wants to see Fergie's flame flickering-out due to the none-stop pressure of the game like Jock Stein who died in 1985 at Ninian Park, just after Scotland had beaten Wales to qualify for the 1986 World Cup.

While Fergie can joke and he surely is enjoying this season, perhaps as much as any in his illustrious career, there's one thing he cannot do, which is hold back time itself and talk of his eventual successor has been a recurring theme over the last few seasons. The United manager recently stated that he would not go beyond 2010, but there's been no definite finish date as of yet.

With United set to face Inter Milan in the Champions League this week, there's been no shortage of big stories; it came as no surprise to learn that Jose Mourinho has been spouting-off saying that he could do Fergie's job - of course he could, but do United really want him? According to reports, Sir Bobby Charlton and Bryan Robson both have doubts about the former Chelsea manager's ability to mold a team in the best traditions of United.

Mourinho's teams are known for playing win-at-all-costs pragmatic football, whereas with United the philosophy has always been to keep on attacking teams even when they've been winning games with ease.

Making comparisons of players doesn't often work, it is exactly the same with managers, so comparing Fergie and Mourinho is a little pointless, but importantly both men are winners - so despite any misgivings about the Portuguese manager he scores highly in the credibility stakes unlike those former United players who have gone on to manage other Premier League clubs.

Unlike Fergie, Mourinho exudes charisma, but he never stays at any club for any great length of time which is a fact that will not have escaped United's power-brokers.

There is a feeling among some of the club's supporters that Jose Mourinho's brand of football would perhaps be better suited to say, Liverpool, who themselves have been known to be less cavalier that the Red Devils.

However, it begs the question, if Mourinho does not eventually go on to replace Fergie, then who will? If it were not for his Russian connections, then many fans may well have backed Guus Hiddink (my own choice).

Send me your suggestions for Fergie's eventually successor. IF you fancy a free bet on anything United related check out Free Bet Updates


  1. While Mourinho is the bookmakers' favourite, I'm not sure I would want him there. Not only because his style of football differs from that of United, but also I don't see him as one who could continue the development of the youth system that has benefited us through the years.

    My suggestion for the post would be Eric Cantona (probably not on the bookmakers list). Don't know about his managerial experience, but he knows what the club is about, he knows the culture and like Sir Alex and Mourinho, is charismatic. What say?

  2. I don't know, I think Mourinho can generate teams that play attractive football, it is just that the demands of Chelsea were instant success, and beautiful football, as Arsenal realises now, does not guarantee instant sucess, something Mourinho would recognise too.

    But on another note, as Ferdinand's fitness is coming under question, isn't he looking just a slight bit error-prone? Nothing on him, he's a great defender for United,but don't you think that his last few performances have been off his best? Maybe I'm being a bit cheeky here, but I wouldn't be unsatisfied if Evans started regardless of Ferdinand's fitness, as he has been making errors that cost United goals. Still, Ferguson, wisely always goes for experience, so I think Scholes and Ferdinand will start, if they are fit.

    Should be an interesting match.

  3. Nik, I agree with you reference your concerns over Mourinho's brand of football and I share your concerns over the future of the youth system.

    As for Cantona, I'm sorry but in my opinion that would be a total disaster. Other than Hiddink, I don't know who I'd choose to replace Fergie.


    You might have a point about Mourinho and attractive football, but being honest I have yet to see it with my own eyes, but I've read reports that he has surprised a lot of people in Italy when changing his tactics and formations. Mourinho says that it's down to the players ability to understand and adapt to new formations. Basically from what I've read he is open to change - so if that was true then maybe it could work, but I'm just not sure, but due to the lack of obvious stand out candidates he would be in the frame for sure if he wanted it.

    As for your point about Rio. I don't agree here. Rio has been outstanding of late, the weak link in the defence at present is John O'Shea - he is too slow to be playing fullback, but he did make one of the goals against Fulham.

  4. Fair enough, regardless, Mourinho's apparent lack of loyalty should be the determining factor in his not taking the job at United.

    There are plenty of young managers around, Slaven Bilic for example, who have proven their mettle at some level or the other. Guus Hiddink has been flirting with retirement after the World Cup too. So it's all up in the air for the moment.

    I would prefer a young, passionate manager similar to how Ferguson was when he took control of United. This ensures a great deal of loyalty from the manager, people like Hiddink also might not be as loyal as Ferguson has been. But then again, should we be considering loyalty in the modern game? I guess the theatre of dreams would be sullied if it allowed more mercenaries in its band of merry men.


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