When Sir Alex Ferguson talks, everyone sits up and listens.
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The legendary former Manchester United manager has been speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt London event where he has backed Chelsea’s underfire manager Jose Mourinho and also revealed the respect he has for newly appointed Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.
Ferguson, 73, showed incredible support for Mourinho — many believed the Portuguese coach would replace Ferie as manager of United when he announced his retirement at the end of the 2012-13 season — in his latest comments, with the Scotsman pleading for Chelsea’s owner to give his manager more time to turn around their alarming slump.
“[Roman Abramovich] has sacked so many coaches in the last 10 years that I am sure he has learned by it. He has to trust and have confidence Jose can turn around,” Ferguson said. “There is no point in sacking one of the best coaches of all time, he’s won the European Cup twice, he’s won the league in each country he’s managed in, he’s won the big trophies.”
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Fergie also revealed he’s been in touch with Mourinho recently and believes despite Chelsea’s defeat to Bournemouth at the weekend — that’s now eight defeats in 15 for the reigning PL champs this season as they languish in 14th place — he can turn things around.
“I have been watching Jose recently and spoken to him a couple of times, and this is the first time he has been confronted with non-success,” Ferguson said. “If you look at his whole career there has been nothing but a rise all of the time so for the first time in his life he has had to deal with bad publicity, adversity and that is a challenge for him, but there are signs he is getting back to a balanced level although they lost on Saturday.”
Mourinho only signed a new four-year contract in August to extend his stay at Chelsea until 2019, and despite him leading the Blues to the title last season he admitted that finishing in the top six could be a push this year after a dreadful start to the campaign. Well, at least he has Fergie on his side…
As for another charismatic and much-spoken about manager in the PL, Ferguson had plenty of kind words to say about Liverpool’s new boss Klopp and is worried that the arch rivals of the team he lead to 28 major trophies during his 26 years in charge could challenge for plenty of titles under the German coach.
“I’m worried about him because the one thing United don’t want is Liverpool to get above us,” Ferguson admitted. “He’s a fantastic personality, with those big white teeth always showing. Even at Newcastle when they lost the second goal he goes over to Steve McClaren to congratulate him. That’s class, that. And the work he did at Dortmund. I know him quite well from the coaching seminars. He’s going to make a difference at that club with his personality, drive and knowledge. Things are looking up there.”
So, Fergie seems to be mellowing a little as the years go by and this is now the third season since he retired after his incredible success as a coach which spanned nearly 40 years in total.
With these comments it is clear that one of the greatest managers in soccer history is backing arguably the two best managers (Arsene Wenger aside) in the PL. Or, is the United legend buttering both Klopp and/or Mourinho up to take over at United when Louis Van Gaal‘s contract runs out in the summer of 2017 or if the Dutchman leaves before that?
In the strange world of soccer, stranger things have happened, especially after LVG threatened to quit United if his players aren’t buying into his philosophy.
This is likely just support towards two top-class managers from Fergie, but given how the way in which he emphatically backed Mourinho and has always had good things to say about him, the respect between them is clear.