Sir Alex Ferguson has sent a warning to Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, advising the Portuguese to always remember his “duty” and “responsibility” to entertain at Old Trafford.
The Portuguese has attracted criticism from various pundits for invoking a more pragmatic, defensive style that saw his side only claim one goal away from home against the top six.
He did, however, enjoy the last laugh this season after finishing his debut campaign at Man United with the League Cup and Europa League.
But Sir Alex, speaking to UEFA.com, has advised the current United boss to invoke a style that both wins and entertains.
“The counter attack has become more prominent today; the condition of pitches is superb today; and also the protection of footballers has become more prevalent,” he said. “So a lot of these things add up to what you’re seeing as a far better spectacle.
“I think you have a duty and a responsibility to entertain. We have to always remember that there’s a public to be entertained. In my time at United, it was ‘as long as you win.’ If it was 4-3, OK, or 5-4, OK. My last game was 5-5 (at West Brom in 2013). I couldn’t ask for a better score in my last game at United.”
Mourinho has previously recognised the demand from supporters to win with style, with a sense of swagger and pomp that supporters became so accustomed to under Sir Alex.
But as we reflect on the Portuguese’s first season at Old Trafford, you can’t help but feel as if the last nine months have been painted in a distinct Mourinho colour: largely unattractive, solid at the back, devoid of much goalscoring potency but, somehow, two major trophies.
Supporters will hope that another transfer window will see Mourinho make the steps necessary to compliment this current appetite for trophies with a more bombastic approach next season.