Wednesday , June 16 2021

Stephen Hunt: "United must be brave in derby but Mourinho is just too stubborn"

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho. Photo: PA
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho. Photo: PA

Stephen Hunt

The smile was back on Jose Mourinho's face in Turin and it can only be good news for Manchester United and their supporters and bad news for the rest of us.

Still, I think Manchester Derby is in the wrong time for Mourinho and Pep Guardiola will wipe the smile off his face today.

The winner against Juventus was incredible. The performance, in 82 minutes, was completely shocking. At that time, when the group's position was on the television screen, United was eight points behind Juventus and third place. Now the other and two points behind, with the hardest game won. His reaction to the final whistle was typically Mourinho. If I were, I would be like Jurgen Klopp under these circumstances and run to embrace my players. Enjoy the moment. Mourinho wanted to beat Juventus players and have a fight.

All he does is calculated so what was the message here? Only he knows what he thought, but an educated guess is that he was sure that the focus and cameras were on him, not his player.

Perhaps he was sure that all the attention was on him because he did not want his players to get the spotlight at the final whistle and be worn by such a fantastic result. He knows it's Manchester City next and maybe he wants to keep them focused.

Could it be that he got lost at the moment and adrenaline took over? I experienced this after my collision with Petr Cech. He criticized me minutes after the match, without looking at the replicas, and had a proper move on the Match of the Day that night. When he saw me in Harrods on monday morning he came over and shook my hand.

He is under strong pressure every minute of every day as Manchester United boss, trying to live with Alex Ferguson's extraordinary success and forever accused of playing negative football compared to Fergie's title-winning team.

He can not even spend a weekend with his family in London after Bournemouth's earnings without being depicted to leave the train on Monday morning, and people ask why he has not yet moved out of his hotel.

This is a guy who won the Champions League and the Premier League and threw his medals in the audience. Should he change? No.

And that's the same with his football. Wednesday night performance may have been far from entertaining for the fans, but the win motivates his tactics. The approach today will be exactly the same.

The best managers are stubborn. He's the boss, no matter what. I came across this several times with Mick McCarthy, most memorably when we were in Ipswich. We had lost badly on Saturday, and I was the guinea pig sent in to ask the boss if the boys were still okay to go to the Cheltenham competitions that week. Mick went purple with fury. I thought he would tear my head off.

I said we had not played so bad, but it did not help and we were unlucky. Mick said he put his foot down and canceled the trip and sent me to tell the guys. He wanted us to feel the pain and have a good idea of ​​why he was so pissed off. He had us an hour or so and then sent with Terry Connor, his assistant, to tell the guys that they could go.

Mourinho is a champion of soccer psychology but Manchester City is another kettle.

Perhaps Mourinho should look at Liverpool's success in two games against City last season, the only team to beat and play them out and be brave. United must score to get something out of the game because stopping City from scoring is almost impossible.

It would be great to see United's players try to open them and push, but they can not do it. It's not natural for them under Mourinho because they know what he wants them to do. He is not comfortable to control his team in any other way.

City is almost back at a fast pace, and it's without the heartbreak of the team, Kevin De Bruyne, which is a scary thought. They are already close to the levels they reached last season and every player Guardiola chooses contributes.

How long they retain the quality determines how much they win. It's hard to continue to improve, but you know that's what Guardiola strives for. If his team wins 4-0 he wants five. Then he wants to have sex. He is never satisfied.

His Barcelona team showed that you can only stay on that level for so long and win things. It's hard to keep it, no matter how good your players are. How long the city will stay there will be due to Guardiola being prepared to maintain its own intensity.

And if you can not enjoy it, what's the meaning? I think Guardiola loves to be manager of Manchester City and watch his team play. I'm not sure you can say the same about Jose Mourinho.

Sunday Indo Sport

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