Garth Crooks has slammed Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho for a ‘cowardly’ performance against Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday in a 0-0 draw.
The BBC pundit took his team of the week column as an opportunity to attack Mourinho’s tactics in one of United’s biggest games of the season in the Premier League.
The visitors at Anfield had just one shot on target and 38% of possession, being widely criticised for their defensive performance. Mourinho and his players defended it as a well earned and valuable point in the full course of the season.
“Sir Alex Ferguson would never have subjected United fans, or one of his teams, to such a cowardly display, especially at Liverpool,” Crooks wrote.
“United going to Anfield looking for a draw? Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola must be laughing himself to sleep.”
Mourinho, though, will, and already has done, defend United’s performance on Saturday.
His players spoke of the hard work it took to get a point at Anfield, a place where teams including Arsenal, United’s top four rivals, have taken batterings, beaten 4-0 in August.
Crooks is correct in saying that Sir Alex Ferguson wouldn’t use the kind of tactics that Mourinho did, though it is somewhat a myth that the Scottish manager would go all out on these games.
However, Crooks is missing a key point in that Ferguson’s record at Anfield in these big games was generally pretty poor, particularly in his later years as United manager.
Mourinho has been in charge of United since July 2016 and been to Anfield twice, drawing both games 0-0.
United fans do expect a more proactive approach from the Reds in big games and hope to see that when Liverpool come to Old Trafford later on in the season.
The next big game for Mourinho is hosting Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on October 28 and United fans will be hoping that by being at home, Mourinho will have more confidence to impose United’s game on the visitors.
The Refs then face Chelsea, Premier League champions, away from home at Stamford Bridge on November 5 and very few people would be surprised to see a similar performance to that shown at Anfield.