Gary Neville has sent praise in the direction of Jose Mourinho following Manchester United’s 3-2 win over Southampton in the League Cup final, pointing out similarities between the Portuguese and Sir Alex Ferguson.
The 54-year-old claimed his first major trophy – and his fourth League Cup triumph, becoming the third manager behind Ferguson and Brian Clough to achieve such a feat – courtesy of a sensational Zlatan Ibrahimovic brace.
Man United have now claimed 16 wins from their last 20 games and will continue to fight for a top four spot, alongside the FA Cup and Europa League, full of confidence following an historic cup final win.
And Neville, speaking on Sky Sports, was quick to note that Mourinho’s recent exploits has evoked comparisons with the great Scot himself.
“That period for two or three years when Jose joined Chelsea was the toughest I had at United,” he said. “You thought you weren’t going to win the league again. He’s greedy for trophies.
“Jose and Sir Alex both share that fierce ‘nothing is going to stand in my way and I don’t care who I’m going to upset along the way’ attitude – my players, my staff, my fans are the most important, everyone else I’m prepared to upset.”
Many questioned whether Mourinho, arriving at Old Trafford following a tumultuous few months at Chelsea, would bring the same unmistakeable demeanour that conquered European football for so long. Every manager, after all, reaches a stage where, for some reason, the powers that brought them to prominence start to fade (*cough* Arsene Wenger *cough*).
But anybody still claiming that the Portuguese has lost that ability to cultivate a widespread serial winning, us-against-them mentality should glance at the way United, despite being overpowered by Southampton, managed to pour forward and grab a winner in the dying moments at Wembley. Nobody can deny that, following three years of ennui, Mourinho has brought a sense of romance back to Old Trafford.