Craig Bellamy: Manchester United are losing their identity under Jose Mourinho

by Leo Nieboer

Former Liverpool and Manchester City winger believes Manchester United are losing their identity under Jose Mourinho.

The Portuguese claimed the League Cup and Europa League in his first season at Old Trafford and has engineered a strong start to the 2017/18 campaign, winning ten games from 13 and claiming nine clean sheets in the process.

However, the 54-year-old has continued to receive stick from pundits for implementing a defensive approach – most pertinently at Anfield last weekend.

And Bellamy, speaking to Sky Sports, noted that Mourinho was somewhat tarnishing the club’s image through ignoring the club’s traditions of swashbuckling, attacking football.

“Manchester United are more than titles,” he said.

“As a football club they have an identity that’s worth more than a title. As a club they have a certain way of playing and as a club they’ve let that go for the time being.

“Going from winning [the league] on a regular basis, to now coming off it has got them in that much of a panic. Bobby Charlton said it through the years that Mourinho isn’t a Man United type of manager.

“At the moment, for their desperation to win trophies, to get back to the top, they will bring him in and they will let it go for now, but there will only be a period Manchester United supporters and Manchester United as a football club will allow this to happen for.

“Manchester United is a huge club, with a huge tradition, and you don’t want to be going too far away from that.”

Are United really entitled to being this country’s main proponents of fast, attacking football just because it has hallmarked their approach in the past?

Of course, this is what any supporter would want to see from their side, but you sense that deifying it above all else as the sole purpose of your club’s existence could be dangerous.

Circumstances change, after all. Football moves fast and presents you with different challenges all the time. Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson were two seminal managers, the likes of which will never be seen again, yet they form only a part of the club’s history. And Mourinho now has the chance to round off an historic managerial career by writing his own chapter.

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