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10th May 2017

The more you think about Gary Neville’s comments, the more outrageous they become

Just give Mourinho another few hundred million to spend

Conan Doherty

This seems to be the argument: Jose Mourinho is a very good manager… as long as he’s allowed to go out and buy the best players in the world.

On Monday night, Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher got into it on Sky Sports and, as usual, it was brilliant TV.

Jose Mourinho was the subject of the extensive debate with the United and Liverpool legends taking two very different stances. Neville reasoned that Mourinho has made just four signings and that, once he has his team together, you will see a new United and a new Jose. Carragher argued that the players he has already are far better than how the manager is treating them with his six at the back nonsense.

Carragher won the debate.

“He’s had four signings,” Neville said.

“Would you accept that they’ve got a squad of 24 and 20 of them are not his?”


Would you accept that the 20 other players are not duds? Would you accept that they’re actually very damn good?

Can you not see that, among those 20 other players, men like De Gea, Valencia, Rojo, Blind, Shaw, Carrick, Herrera, Mata, Martial, and Rashford reside?

Not only are most of those players dyed-in-the-wool ‘Mourinho players’, but they’re also outstanding talents and any failure the manager has with working with them is a failure of his own abilities.

Is Jose Mourinho – a man who has yet to prove he can stay at any club for longer than three years – really allowed a carte blanche to toss out genuine quality from Manchester United so he can try to form a more effective team for a more robust system… for the next two seasons before he pisses off?

This viewpoint is hard to fathom but this acceptance that it’s going to take hundreds of more millions before they can see any sort of progress at Old Trafford is worse. Do we normally only judge managers once they’ve signed a squad of players?

At Tottenham Hotspur, Mauricio Pochettino was working off a profit in the transfer market in his first two seasons. They made over £10million in that period and now, in his third year, the manager has just five signings in his regular side.

  • Hugo Lloris – inherited
  • Kyle Walker – inherited
  • Toby Alderweireld – £13.6m
  • Jan Vertonghen – inherited
  • Danny Rose – inherited
  • Eric Dier – £4.25m
  • Victor Wanyama – £12.24m
  • Christian Eriksen – inherited
  • Dele Alli – £5.64m
  • Heung-Min Son – £25.5m
  • Harry Kane – inherited

Is Pochettino not deserving of praise because he’s only bought five first-teamers? And, according to Gary Neville, four of the best players in the league (Pogba, Zlatan, Bailly, Mkhitaryan) are not enough for Mourinho to add to an already good United squad. According to Gary Neville, it’s almost an excuse for finishing sixth.

It’s difficult to defend Mourinho but also praise the job Poch has done at Spurs by improving what was already there and designing a system to suit that team.

Antonio Conte has brought in just David Luiz, Marcos Alonso and N’Golo Kante to transform Chelsea from 10th place finishers to a lethal machine cruising to the league title. Mourinho would’ve come in there and turfed everyone out – his squad or not – before he could even think of performing.

What’s worse is that he would’ve been given a licence to do just that.

Just like he’s been given a free pass right now from some in the media and from a lot of Man United fans because it’s not HIS team.

Carragher challenged Neville at the time and listed the quality of player that Mourinho is actually working with. Neville didn’t address it.

Instead, he just said that the manager doesn’t trust this team and that’s why United are playing like they are. The big point should’ve been why in the hell does he not trust this team?

He has a squad of great players but, until he’s allowed to make eight or 10 signings, he can piss about however much he likes because apparently the only thing to managing a football team now is bringing in new players. Forget about tactics, forget about man-management. Jesus, you can even forget about coaching.

Just give Mourinho another few hundred million to spend. Then he’ll prove he’s a good manager.