Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has given his backing to under-fire Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho, saying it will be foolish to write him off
In an interview with The Guardian, Steven Gerrard used the word “winner” to describe Jose Mourinho, who is under increasing pressure to deliver results at Manchester United. The Liverpool legend, who is currently in-charge of Rangers, also added that it would be foolish to write the Portuguese manager off.
Mourinho was appointed as the Manchester United manager in the summer of 2016, his third managerial job in England following two stints at Chelsea. The Portuguese managed to deliver instant results, as the Red Devils won the English League Cup as well as the UEFA Europa League.
But, following the successful maiden campaign, things haven’t been so bright for Manchester United and Mourinho. While they did finish runners-up in the 2017-18 Premier League season, their highest finish to a league campaign since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, there wasn’t much to show in other competitions, with the FA Cup final loss to Chelsea also leaving a sour taste.
Additionally, the fact that they had finished 19 points behind champions and bitter local rivals Manchester City also took some sheen off the runners-up finish. And, things have only gone downhill this season, with Manchester United eighth on the Premier League table, 12 points behind City, and have already been booted out of the League Cup.
As a result, the pressure is growing on Mourinho to perform or perish, with Manchester United reportedly identifying his possible replacement options as well. But, Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has given his backing to the under-fire manager.
“I think of one word: winner. He’s a winner. When winners feel that stuff around them is affecting their chances of winning then maybe the behaviour changes. But he’s still a world-class manager and he’s already won things at Manchester United.”
“It wouldn’t surprise me if he won more trophies at Manchester United. I think it’s him doing things on purpose, to galvanise and get that siege mentality. It would be foolish to write him off.”
As things stand, it is hard to see Manchester United winning a trophy, as iterated by the Liverpool legend. Overcoming a 12-point gap in the Premier League is a daunting task, while the Red Devils do not really look like Champions League contenders, despite their big win over Juventus. The only realistic title tilt could come in the FA Cup.
In case they do not win a trophy for a second successive season, Mourinho will likely have to deliver a top four finish to keep his job at Manchester United. But, with the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool going strong, it will be a tough battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League by pipping Tottenham and Arsenal, who are both exhibiting some good form as well.
For now, Mourinho’s future at Manchester United hangs in the balance. It will be interesting to see if the under-fire Manchester United manager can vindicate Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, or if he is shown the exit door at Old Trafford.