Phil Neville has hit out at the “disgusting” way in which Jose Mourinho is being discussed in the media following defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion last weekend.
Manchester United performed woefully against Chris Hughton’s side, conceding three times in the first half and failing to offer anything of substance going forward.
The backlash has been severe: Mino Raiola has raised tensions over Paul Pogba’s predicament at the club, Man United have had to confirm their support for the manager, and Zinedine Zidane’s name has been mentioned by a number of media outlets.
Speaking on BBC Five Live, Neville expressed his disgust at the way Mourinho has been treated by the media this week.
“I think it is disgusting,” he said.
“I read something the other day that his methods are outdated and I think that’s the most disrespect thing ever. How do these people know his methods are outdated when he comes back in a Manchester derby and wins 3-2?
“Were his methods outdated in that? I think his record speaks for itself. They are going through a bad period. That performance last week at Brighton was unacceptable but I don’t see a better man for the job.
“In terms of his record since he’s gone to United – an FA Cup win, Carabao Cup win, Europa League win, two Champions League qualifications. I don’t think all is smooth there and I think it’s a club issue but I think the criticism that’s getting, I just think it is disgraceful. I really do.”
Perhaps the main difference at United in relation to other top clubs is not the pressure going into games – although it is immense – but rather the reaction which follows.
The cocktail of Mourinho and United, both pantomime villains in their own way, is enough for one result – one bad performance – to send the media into a frenzy which would be impossible with any other Premier League club. Such is the sheer weight of United’s online presence and the pent up anxiety surrounding the 55-year-old’s inability to play the football supporters want.
The media feeds off that, uses it, enlarges it, and makes it feel like the apocalypse. Mourinho may not be perfect – far from it – but we would benefit from not being sucked into the online fury which hasn’t let up since 4:30 last Sunday.