Eye On EPL

Hey Jose, cajoling works better than dressing downs in public

It is normal to see a manager publicly criticise his players occasionally, especially after a bad showing.

But Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, whose team have lost three times on the trot, needs to stop slagging his players in front of the media after each defeat, the latest being Sunday's 1-3 English Premier League loss to Watford.

For sure, he is under immense pressure to deliver at Old Trafford and return the Red Devils to the upper echelons of English football.

But, as his final season at Chelsea showed, that cannot be achieved by hanging his players out to dry each time results go against him.

Most coaches usually call players to their office and point out their mistakes on video so the players cannot hide.

Sometimes Klopp reminds me of a younger Mourinho. I still remember the Portuguese running down the Old Trafford touchline after his Porto side had scored. At the end of the day, happy teams win titles.

Ultimately, the players are professionals - they know when they have played well or performed poorly.

At a big club like United, man management is as important as tactical knowledge and you want players to be on your side.

In the past, former United manager Alex Ferguson is famous for blaming referees, opponents and sometimes the media for his team's poor results.

Privately, he would dish out the hairdryer treatment in the dressing room. But this makes the players feel protected and respected.

Players talk - one unhappy player could damage the morale in the dressing room and before you know it, Mourinho will be faced with the same situation he had at Chelsea before he was sacked.

In contrast, it was refreshing to see Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp go on the pitch and hug almost all his players after their 2-1 win at Chelsea over the weekend.

Here you can see the difference in their approaches. Klopp's a more passionate guy - on the touchline you often see him jumping up and down, celebrating each goal wildly with his glasses almost falling off.

As crazy as he looks, it tells the players that their coach is as invested as they are in the game, that he is fully behind them and this eventually translates into the players' performances.

Klopp balances this very well.

He is also not afraid to punish players, as he did when he sent Mamadou Sakho home from a pre-season training camp in the United States for "a lack of respect".

Sakho had showed up late on three occasions.

In fact, I have to say the German coach is to me the best motivator in the English Premier League now.

You can tell that the Reds have a fantastic team spirit, and it's no surprise they are playing fantastic football right now.

Truth be told, sometimes Klopp reminds me of a younger Mourinho. I still remember the Portuguese running down the Old Trafford touchline after his Porto side had scored.

At the end of the day, happy teams win titles.

Mourinho, whose Champions League-winning Porto and Inter Milan teams were built on incredible spirit and togetherness, should know this better than most.

And he won't have a happy team if he keeps mouthing off in public.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2016, with the headline 'Hey Jose, cajoling works better than dressing downs in public'. Print Edition | Subscribe