Football: Carlos Carvalhal praises Jose Mourinho's fighting spirit ahead of clash

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho reacts after the English FA Cup quarter-final football match between Manchester United and Brighton and Hove Albion at Old Trafford in Manchester on March 17, 2018.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho reacts after the English FA Cup quarter-final football match between Manchester United and Brighton and Hove Albion at Old Trafford in Manchester on March 17, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (REUTERS) - Swansea City boss Carlos Carvalhal believes Manchester United counterpart Jose Mourinho thrives "when he is fighting" amid talk of rifts at Old Trafford.

Mourinho has been outspoken in his criticism of several United players including record signing Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw, who was substituted at half-time in the FA Cup victory over Brighton and Hove Albion earlier in March.

Carvalhal accepts he shares some similarities with his fellow Portuguese Mourinho but said the former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss uses a more confrontational approach and is at his most dangerous when presented a challenge.

"I like Mourinho and he knows that I like him," Carvalhal told British media. "I spent a week at Manchester United when Alex Ferguson was there, then a week watching Mourinho at Chelsea. I also went to Real Madrid.

"I tried to learn with the best. He has a big self-confidence, like I do. You need that. But he is a completely different personality to me. He likes confrontation. He likes to fight with people. And he's very good when he is fighting.

"I am completely different. I like to keep far away from the fight. I like to win, but, if someone tries to fight with me, they will find they are fighting with themselves."

Carvalhal is preparing Swansea for a trip to United on Saturday (March 31) and knows a surprise victory would be crucial in their battle for Premier League survival with eight matches remaining.

The Welsh club are currently 14th in the standings and three point clear of relegation zone, while second-placed United are 16 points adrift of runaway leaders Manchester City.