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​Viv Anderson Exclusive: (Blameless) Mourinho tactics risk Man Utd identity

Sir Alex's Ferguson first signing as Manchester United manager, Viv Anderson, has told Tribalfootball that his former club are in danger of losing their identity under Jose Mourinho's leadership.

Since replacing Louis van Gaal as manager in 2016, Mourinho has won three trophies and ended last season in second place on the Premier League table. However, his failure to replicate 'the Manchester United way' has led to criticism from some supporters.

The United ethos was cultivated by Sir Matt Busby over sixty years ago and has been defined as a desperate commitment to entertaining and fearless football.

Busby famously described the attitude to Bobby Charlton when he arrived at the club as a 15-year-old, stating: "All those lads you see going to the factory in Trafford Park, they come to watch you on Saturday.

"They have boring jobs, so you have to give them something they will enjoy."

Sir Alex Ferguson implemented the philosophy to devastating effect during his 26 year reign as manager. United won 38 trophies under the Scotsman with a brand of football that was as attractive as it was ruthless.

Calls for a return to the old days have grown louder after the Red Devils' poor start to the 2018/19 season.

In an effort to appease those demands, the Portuguese loosened his team against Spurs at Old Trafford a fortnight ago. The result was an embarrassing 3-0 loss that shifted the spotlight firmly on the 53-year-old's future.

The three-time Premier League winner reverted back to a pragmatic approach against Burnley on Sunday and appeared to be validated with a 2-0 victory.

Speaking exclusively to Tribalfootball, Anderson believes Mourinho's tactics will do nothing to further the legacy built by Busby and Ferguson.

But the former England defender placed the responsibility firmly on the club's hierarchy for hiring a manager renowned for his cautious style.

"It doesn't help the clubs identity," Anderson, who spent three-and-a-half seasons at Old Trafford, told Tribalfootball.

"The clubs been renowned for playing in a certain way. It's you score four goals, we'll score five. Jose's philosophy is not that.

"His philosophy is mainly defensive and win on the counter attack, which is not Manchester United's way.

"The board and the people who employed Jose knew what they were getting. He has played that way ever since he's been in management.

"So to expect him to change and be expansive this late in his management career is quite baffling.

"They knew what they were getting and now they have to try and make the most of it."



Viv Anderson MBE was speaking to Tribalfootball to promote the partnership between 'Playonpro' and 'REDSTRIKE'.

Click here to find out more information on Playonpro.

Andrew Maclean
About the author

Andrew Maclean

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