Jose Mourinho admits the Manchester United legends working in the media can have a significant impact on the fans’ mood but said he would accept their criticism.
Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand are among the former United stars to have worked in the media in recent years, and many have offered forthright views during the club’s difficulties since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
While Mourinho has faced little criticism at this stage, Scholes made headlines this weekend when he told Sport Witness that Paul Pogba is not worth anywhere near the money United are expected to pay for him, and Owen Hargreaves told the Manchester Evening News last month that the club were “spooked” into hiring the Portuguese.
Mourinho accepts that the club’s former players have the power to “create a more difficult situation” but said he was more than happy to welcome them at the club.
“At this club you find legends from five years ago, legends of 10 years ago, legends of 15 years ago and legends of 20 years ago,” he said in The Sunday Times.
“Their voice becomes very powerful. That is something you have to understand. When people belong to the club history, they are different to a normal pundit. You have to look at them in a different way. You have to be respectful with these guys.
“They are so powerful in the fans’ world that they can influence positively or negatively. The fans love them, so when they are positive they can unite and when they are negative they can create a more difficult situation.
“They are working and have to try to be honest and independent. So, myself, as Manchester United manager cannot ask them, ‘You belong to our history, you are here to help.’ You have to accept that if they are happy with the team they can elevate the support; if they are not happy maybe they can disturb and make things more difficult.
“I would say to them, ‘You are welcome at the training ground.’ Any time you want to give an opinion, welcome, it is your house, it is your home and you can be back when you want.”
Meanwhile, Gary Neville has dismissed any suggestion he could take a role on the coaching staff at United, telling The Sunday Times: “That’s not going to happen.”
Support InfoStride News' Credible Journalism: Only credible journalism can guarantee a fair, accountable and transparent society, including democracy and government. It involves a lot of efforts and money. We need your support. Click here to Donate