Gary Neville has compared Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho’s tactical approach to that of legendary boxer Floyd Mayweather.
The 50-0 former champion is famous for having a somewhat conservative style in the ring, often drawing criticism for apparently lessening the ‘spectacle’ of a fight, and Neville believes that Mourinho takes a similar approach in games against his top six rivals.
Man United executed this approach perfectly in Saturday’s 1-0 at home to Tottenham, and stifled Liverpool in a 0-0 draw at Anfield earlier this month. Rather than pine for a more attacking approach, Neville has warned fans to expect more of the same as this is what Mourinho does.
Speaking on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football, the former right-back offered a full defence of the manager’s tactics:
“Mauricio Pochettino and Jurgen Klopp have got wonderful reputations for being attacking coaches. But Mourinho is a little bit like [Floyd] Mayweather at times. Mayweather is called boring at times, where he uses defence as a weapon, let’s people punch themselves out.
“Jurgen Klopp in that game a few weeks ago didn’t feel he could fully go for it, because he felt: ‘He’s going to do me, I don’t want to get done by a Mourinho masterclass.’ And I think Tottenham lacked the belief to go for it on Saturday.
“I think he gets into [the coaches’] heads, and has them thinking: ‘I can’t get done on the counter-attack here, he’ll do me’. And that’s a great coach, to think he can have other coaches spoiling their tactics. So in some ways I think he does deserve more respect, his record is unbelievable.”
Man United’s win at Old Trafford on Saturday ensured that they kept up with Premier League leaders Man City, as they look to end their five-year wait for a league title.