Eric Cantona believes Jose Mourinho is a great manager but not the right man to manage Manchester United on a long term basis.
The 55-year-old was hired to bring trophies to the club and he lived up to his billing over the 2016/17 season, winning the League Cup and Europa League.
Mourinho guided Man United to second place in the Premier League last season, but defeat in the FA Cup final, followed by a cataclysmic start to the new campaign, has cast serious doubt over his suitability for the role.
Speaking earlier this week, Cantona pointed out that, while Mourinho was a top manager, he was inherently not a United manager.
“I love Jose,” he said. “He is a great manager who has won so many things, and he will win more, maybe even this season, maybe the Champions League.”
“But he is not the right man for Manchester United, a great club that will always be great. They will win things, I know they will.
“But the way they play? Not good. The manager has them playing the wrong way for the fans. No fun, no creativity.
“United teams should play in a joyful way, with enjoyment and excitement. I want to see players free to express themselves, to try to win games instead of being sent out not to lose. I like Mourinho. He has a good personality but not for United.”
When Mourinho wins trophies, the lack of an overriding attacking plan and everything else which comes with the Portuguese’s style does not matter.
But when Mourinho does not win trophies, you feel compelled to ask: what exactly is he good for?
United hired him as a specialist trophy winner in 2016 but the winds have significantly changed since then. Clubs are employing younger managers who emphasise pressing the opposition hard, quick build up through the lines, committing players forward, and who have a detailed strategy for building a team in their image. The days of managers like Sam Allardyce and Tony Pulis are over; the days of Gareth Southgate and Roberto Martinez have begun.
And United, of all clubs, should be following suit.