Brighton and Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton has come out in defence of Jose Mourinho, describing the Portuguese as “one of the best” in the game.
The 55-year-old, following a trophy-less second season at Old Trafford and a turbulent summer, has been tipped to enter typical “third season mode” by many supporters and pundits.
He begun the campaign in the right way, however, with a 2-1 win over Leicester City, and will travel to Brighton and Hove Albion this Sunday in the hope of seeing his side perform better than when they succumbed to a 1-0 defeat on the seaside in May.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the game, Hughton was quick to come out in defence of the often maligned Man United boss.
“He is one of our best managers, if you look at the record he has of winning things,” he said.
“I think when you are that type of manager you are going to be in the spotlight far more than others and everything is going to be picked up.”
Beneath the prickly persona – to go with the often mundane football, the apparent inability to change players for the better, the “third season” meltdowns, all of that – lies a genuine footballing genius. Make no mistake.
He is one of the most successful managers of all time. He is an icon, a cult villain everybody loves to hate. Football would not be the same without him.
And so, for all the negativity heading into this season and the perceived lack of quality in the current squad, coupled with the weight of history heading into campaign number three, nobody can ever completely dismiss the possibility of the boss achieving big things this year.