Phil Neville: Manchester United fans want to see the real Jose Mourinho

by Leo Nieboer

Former Manchester United full-back Phil Neville believes supporters want to see the real Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford this season.

The 53-year-old has made a mixed start to life at Man United, overseeing emphatic displays and poor results in equal measure.

Mourinho, prior to United’s visit to Chelsea, his former club, insisted he would not go crazy if his side scored.

Neville, speaking earlier this week, claimed that United fans are still waiting to see the bombastic, passionate side of Mourinho’s managerial approach.

“The supporters are not unhappy with Jose, but they are waiting for the real Jose to come out,” he said. 

“When I see him in interviews and on the touchline, he looks a little bit reserved.

“I want him to come out and show the real Jose, where he’s fighting the world like he was at Chelsea. He went to war with Pep when they were at Real Madrid and Barcelona and you just hope he does it again.

“Sir Alex Ferguson did it all the time with managers that were competing against him. With a couple more wins under his belt, I hope we see the real Jose.

“I look back at previous managers of this club and they’ve never been afraid of saying what they want and acting like they have.

“Yes, there are traditions you have to uphold but United fans want to see the real Jose bring the siege mentality he had at Chelsea to Old Trafford.”

March 9 2004 is a date that will never be etched from Mourinho’s mind. It was on this day, now over twelve years ago, that the 53-year-old announced himself to the world. The location, rather conveniently, was Old Trafford, and Mourinho’s Porto side had just knocked United out Europe in the dying seconds of what was a furiously tense quarter-final.

One lasting image will forever remain from that night: Mourinho, adorned in a long black coat, charging down the touchline, celebrating wildly. This was his moment, you could tell.

Fast forward to the present day and we see a fundamentally different Mourinho. The man in charge at Old Trafford is a far more calculated, pragmatic individual, espousing an air of wisdom after years of experiencing dizzy highs and excruciating lows throughout his career.

Occasionally, however, very occasionally, that old-school, ostentatious touchline menace does return in highly charged, significant moments. And who knows? Perhaps United fans, in the midst of wildly celebrating a last minute winner, will get to witness this Mourinho as he sprints down the touchline, embracing a swathe of supporters in the Stretford End.

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