Mourinho plays down pressure of matching Ferguson era
David Moyes returns to Manchester United on Monday for the first time since being axed from “the impossible job” – yet Jose Mourinho claims not to be overawed by trying to emulate Sir Alex Ferguson.
Moyes will be back at United two years after the club sacked him, when ‘the chosen one’ quickly became ‘the wrong one’ and was dismissed just 10 months into his stint as Ferguson’s successor.
He left the club seventh in the Premier League and out of Champions League contention, with t he task of keeping United perched at English football’s summit also proving beyond his immediate successor Louis van Gaal.
Mourinho, the third man to take up the baton, has yet to restore the club back to the heights of the Ferguson era but does not perceive that period of glory as an albatross around his neck.
“I don’t feel it as a burden, I feel the great history of the club as only positive things and not negative things,” Mourinho said.
“The problem is, if you have the conditions to follow that success of history, then that’s a different story.
“One thing is having Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, David Beckham and (Ryan) Giggs and (Nicky) Butt, all those guys 25, 26, 27 years old; it’s another thing to have them at 30, 31, 32; another thing it doesn’t happen.
“Obviously that plays a part so there are generations and in a certain period when probably David came the situation was not so easy, it was not so easy to go in that winning direction. At the same time – and I think this is even more important – the Premier League was changing.”
Two years have passed since Moyes last prowled the touchline at a venue where ‘the chosen one’ banner was hung in his honour upon his hiring.
When things started to head south, a plane flying above Old Trafford trailed the words ‘wrong one – Moyes out’, a wish that would eventually be granted when he suffered the ignominy of his first firing in April 2014.
It is an experience Mourinho felt only 12 months ago at Chelsea and he believes rebounding from being axed is something every manager has to experience.
“I think a manager that’s not sacked is not a manager, or at least is not a good manager,” he added. “We have to be sacked.
“I think it was just a bad moment in David’s career and he has to do what I did, what we all do, move on and he did that.
“After Manchester United he went to Spain, also a different experience for him, then back to England, back in the Premier League. I think he moved on and this is what we have to do and (Alan) Pardew has to do the same.”
Pardew was sacked by Crystal Palace on Thursday and replaced by former England boss Sam Allardyce.
One Premier League manager Mourinho has not often voiced solidarity with is Arsene Wenger and t he Portuguese, who recently claimed football authorities treat him differently to other managers after receiving two touchline bans in quick succession, could not understand why the Frenchman avoided punishment for his comments after Arsenal’s loss to Manchester City last weekend.
Wenger had said “the referees are protected very well, like the lions in the zoo” after bemoaning two City goals he thought were offside.
“I’m not surprised (he escaped punishment),” said Mourinho. “I can’t say much more than that. But I’m not surprised. When I read his quotes I felt there would be no problem…for him.
“It doesn’t irritate me because I’m not happy with the problems that others have. Some people, not just in football but in life, it looks like they are happy, not with the good things they get, but happy with bad things others get. I’m not like that.
“I’m not happy that other people are in trouble or have problems. I’m just unhappy when I have them. That’s it.”