Mourinho a big step up from van Gaal, says Ferguson

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho poses ahead of the press conference at Old Trafford.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho poses ahead of the press conference at Old Trafford.PHOTO: REUTERS

Ex-United boss tips Portuguese to shine at Old Trafford, says he's better than van Gaal

LONDON • Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho will be a "massive improvement" on predecessor Louis van Gaal, according to former Old Trafford manager Alex Ferguson.

The Portuguese was appointed in May, three years after Ferguson quit following 26 years in charge during which the club won 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League crowns.

"I think he'll be a massive improvement, I really do," the 74-year-old told Sky Sports television on Tuesday.

Mourinho, 53, was fired by Chelsea in December, seven months after winning the Premier League crown in his second spell at the London club.

"I thought Jose was wrong to go back to Chelsea... I think it is always difficult to go back somewhere for a second time," Ferguson said.

EXCELLENT CREDENTIALS

He's won the Champions League with two different clubs (Porto and Inter Milan), he won league titles with all the teams he's been at... his record, you can't ignore.

ALEX FERGUSON, the long-time United manager, on new boss Jose Mourinho.

"But in terms of ability, charisma, personality, success he's had, he's won the Champions League with two different clubs (Porto and Inter Milan), he won league titles with all the teams he's been at... his record, you can't ignore."

The Scot added: "I think United is the right kind of club for him and I think he'll do really well."

David Moyes took over from Ferguson in 2013 and led United to seventh position in the Premier League before being replaced by Dutchman van Gaal, who guided the team to fourth and fifth spots in his two seasons in charge.

Van Gaal was sacked in May, just days after leading United to victory over Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final.

Ferguson also said on Tuesday that he understands why Mourinho decided against making Ryan Giggs his assistant manager at United and told BBC Sport: "It is time Ryan stood on his own feet."

Ferguson said Giggs, who has left Old Trafford after 29 years with the club, has the necessary "steel" to forge his own managerial career away from the club.

Giggs, who spent his entire playing career with United, had acted as caretaker manager after Moyes' dismissal and then served as assistant to van Gaal during the Dutchman's two-year reign.

Mourinho is expected to hand long-time assistant Rui Faria the role at Old Trafford.

Ferguson, who managed United between 1986 and 2013, said he understood the new manager's reasoning.

"You have got to have, in your assistant, someone you have trusted all your life," he said. "When I came to United, I brought Archie Knox because he was a valuable person for me. I trusted him 100 per cent.

"Jose Mourinho has had his assistant for years and, quite rightly, has stuck by his own man. If Jose hadn't had an assistant, I know he would have taken Ryan."

Giggs, 42, who said Ferguson and van Gaal had been "great managerial mentors", confirmed that he hopes to take charge of a club in future but said there are "no immediate plans" to do so.

Ferguson said the Welshman had the right personality to thrive in management.

"It is time Ryan stood on his own feet, got out there and accepted the challenge," he said.

"I talk about his poker face. He has a bit of steel about him. It is such a highly intense results industry, you need people who go into it to have a bit of steel about them, a bit of character and personality."

REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2016, with the headline 'Mourinho a big step-up: Fergie'. Print Edition | Subscribe