An outspoken Manchester United legend, Eric Cantona has had his say on the on-going Old Trafford managerial saga – expressing his dissatisfaction at United’s decision to name Jose Mourinho as Louis Van Gaal’s successor.
Cantona concedes that it would have been extremely difficult for any of the prospective candidates to make their mark after Sir Alex Ferguson, who had been at the club 25 years, explaining that it doesn’t necessarily matter if you’re a great manager, the fans will always pursue Ferguson’s philosophies.
But while Cantona completely understood the need to remove Van Gaal after two depressing seasons, the Frenchman was far from convinced in Ed Woodward’s choice of successor, suggesting Mourinho’s style will not reverberate well with the Old Trafford faithful:
“I love José Mourinho, but in terms of the type of football he plays I don’t think he is Manchester United,
“I don’t think it’s the type of football that the fans of Manchester United will love, even if they win. He can win with Manchester United. But do they expect that type of football, even if they win? I don’t think so.”
Cantona believes that Mourinho’s nemesis from his time in La Liga (soon to be re-ignited in Manchester), Pep Guardiola, would have been a far better fit.
“Guardiola was the one to take. He is the spiritual son of Johan Cruyff,
“I would have loved to have seen Guardiola in Manchester. He is the only one to change Manchester. He is in Manchester, but at the wrong one.”
“Yes, I’m serious. I say that just because it’s like when you are in the pub or the club.
“Maybe if I say I don’t care about that job, they will ask me. If they asked me, I’d work very hard, of course.”
Everyone has an opinion when it comes to Jose Mourinho’s, thought the opinions of United legends such as Eric Cantona certainly carry more gravitas.
For more than a decade, Mourinho’s abrasive style and antagonistic approach to management has transformed him into one of the most divisive figures in the game.
Is Cantona right to question Mourinho’s style, does the Portuguese coach genuinely promote a negative style?
Importantly, Mourinho sets out his team to win – everything else, including style of play, is secondary. The best coaches will always compromises their squads for the biggest of matches.
That’s not to say that United fans will necessarily reject a more cautious approach in European knockout ties for example, particularly if it reaps rewards.
A far cry from Ferguson’s philosophies? Not really, not for a club that used Ji Sung-Park, Darren Fletcher and Danny Welbeck precisely for such a purpose under the Scotsman’s reign.