Gary Neville: Jose Mourinho is very similar to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United

by Leo Nieboer

Gary Neville has pointed out the similar managerial characteristics between Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson, noting that both place emphasis on possessing a serial winning mentality.

The 54-year-old endured a difficult spell during the early stages of his time at Old Trafford, managing just two Premier League wins between September and early December.

He has, however, radically transformed the mood of the club through invoking a more dynamic, ruthless style, and hasn’t seen his side lose a league game since October.

And Neville believes that the restored sense of siege mentality at Old Trafford can be compared to what Sir Alex Ferguson used to bring to the club.

“Winning, success and single-mindedness to do whatever it takes to win – that is the biggest similarity between Mourinho and Ferguson,” he said. 

“There are still questions to answer but they’re better in terms of style of play, and the profile of player is better.

“I think what needs to happen is obviously Mourinho needs more than one or two transfer windows to correct things.

“Over the last two or three years, there’s been a quite a lot of players signed for the club who probably don’t fit the profile that Mourinho wants or maybe United want.

“But with three or four more buys this summer, there is potential for the club to strengthen. What I would say is with the signings of Pogba, Ibrahimovic, Mkhitaryan and Bailly, United are in a far better situation than they were 12 months ago.

“I was hearing things that United won’t attract the big players anymore, or the best players in the world, but that has obviously happened. So they are in a far better position as a club. I just think the issue is they aren’t able to break into the top four at the moment.

“I was more worried 12 months ago where the club were going in terms of signings and the style of play. Now I’m a lot happier with the direction they’re going.”

Both David Moyes and Louis van Gaal came to the club with a desire to impose their own style at Old Trafford. The former didn’t last ten months and the latter – well, we don’t need reminders of what last season was like.

But Mourinho has made it clear from day one that United’s style under his tutelage would not function like a defensively organised, hard-to-break down team that one games by singular goals. He wants to see a team capable of exciting supporters – capable, above anything, of ensuring that trips to Old Trafford are things to look forward to. And that, above anything, is why Mourinho deserves credit for how he has gone about his business since arriving in June.

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