Charlie Nicholas was on Sky Sports as a pundit and has had his say on the recent mind-games that Jose Mourinho has been playing with his fellow managers.
Manchester United’s manager typically begins his mind-games routine whenever things start to heat up and as his club prepare to face Tottenham and Chelsea soon, it appears he’s in full swing.
Mourinho’s post-match comments on certain managers choosing to cry over injuries was a dig at Antonio Conte and the Chelsea manager took the bait.
Conte lashed back out at Jose, essentially telling the United manager to mind his own business and to focus on his own players.
Surely the Red Devils will all be laughing now at the Italian for falling for their manager’s usual trick and Nicholas believes the Portuguese relishes the mental aspect of the game.
According to the Daily Star, he told Sky Sports: “This [mind games] is the build to saying ‘I love this, bring it on because I really do enjoy the challenge’.
“That’s the mental side of the game, where, let’s be honest sometimes it can bore the pants off some people but we find it intriguing.”
Sir Alex Ferguson used to have similar tricks up his sleeve and often bested his fiercest opponents before a ball was even kicked.
He was well known for his spats with Arsene Wenger, although the pair’s relationship has somewhat repaired as the years rolled by.
Perhaps his most famous battle was with former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez, whose reaction to Fergie’s comments left United’s players in stitches and the Reds’ players embarrassed.
The former Old Trafford legend also played mind-games with referees, often pointing to his watch on the sidelines whenever opposition teams were wasting time, in order to remind match officials to add it all up.
This action often had opposition fans believing referees added more time than necessary to matches and the Red Devils often punished their opponents during that time.
If United are to succeed then they’ll certainly need their manager in top form and by the looks of things, they’ll be just fine.