Samuel Eto’o has warned Jose Mourinho over the consequences that stem from adopting a defensive approach in the Premier League.
The 53-year-old adopted a defensive approach during the closing stages of their game against Everton, bringing on Marouane Fellaini to provide some physical presence at the back, only to see the Belgian give away a penalty in the 89th minute.
Man United now find themselves ten points adrift of fourth spot and a further 13 points behind leaders Chelsea.
Eto’o, who was part of Mourinho’s treble-winning Inter Milan side in 2010, was quick to warn his former boss over his defensive approach.
“Jose has changed a lot,” he said.
“I discovered someone exceptional when I came to Inter. At Chelsea, it was already a bit difficult.
“He asked for three years to relaunch Manchester United, but you have to get your team playing, you can’t defend continually. Football isn’t like that anymore.
“Let’s be clear: I’ve nothing against Jose. He is able to pick someone, tell him ‘you are the best’ and he’ll have a very good game. But football is evolving.”
This feels like a classic case of ‘damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t’. Mourinho, after all, has employed a notably attacking ethos this season, giving rise to a catalogue of chances and domineering displays. That, however, has been largely ignored, with most people pointing to his side’s failure to put games to bed.
And then, against Everton, he opts for a sturdier, more Mourinho-esque approach, precipitating a compact, controlled display – until Fellaini decided to commit footballing suicide late on.
This side is clearly capable of carrying out both styles, and United fans will hope to see Mourinho refine them further as the season goes on.