Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville believes criticism of Jose Mourinho is undeserved and that the Portuguese should be given more credit for his record at Old Trafford.
Manchester United is 10th in the Premier League and faces Everton on Sunday, when it will again look to kickstart an underwhelming start to the season.
Persistent speculation over Mourinho's future and his relationship with star players, such as Paul Pogba, has provided the backdrop to a campaign that has brought four wins from nine attempts in England's top flight and an EFL Cup exit at the hands of Derby County. There have been calls for the 55-year-old to lose his job, but Neville – who made 602 appearances for United before his retirement in 2011 – feels Manchester United should stick by its manager, after what he considers to be a successful period under the former Real Madrid and Chelsea boss.
"If Jose Mourinho left Manchester United today then in his two and a half years he will have won two major trophies, lost an FA Cup final, finished second in the league and qualified for the Champions League two seasons running," he told the Manchester Evening News . "And had the best finish in the Premier League since Sir Alex retired.
"If Jose left today he would tell that story. And we are looking at it from the point of view of perfection. If you had said they would have this three-year period when I was a United fan as a kid, I would have snatched your hand off. In my childhood we won two FA Cups in 11 years!
"It doesn’t help that Man City and Liverpool are doing so well so there are a lot of factors. It is only a period in a 20-year management career and I think Jose will be successful again.
"In my 43 years of living, this is not an unsuccessful period. This is not an unsuccessful period in Manchester United's 100-plus-year history. This is an unsuccessful period compared to the glory years. And the glory years should be where we measure the club by, always. Fans, media and pundits. But we should all have perspective as well."
Manchester United has dispensed with David Moyes and Louis van Gaal before the end of their contracts following Ferguson's retirement, but Neville is adamant that Mourinho should be given more time.
"I didn't want David Moyes to be sacked," he added. "I always think if there are unplanned sackings in football then you are making reactive decisions. Let's be hypothetical and say Manchester United sack Jose Mourinho tomorrow and I hope they don't – who is available? Who are they going to get?
"Whoever they get now or during the season is going to be second rate. So it is going to be an interim manager and then we are into emotional decisions – who can fill in for seven months?
"And then you are thinking of that 'interim' title for Manchester United so the actual idea of unplanned sackings is really bad for a football club. So for me I support Jose Mourinho at the club. There are things that need resolving in the longer-term."
- Bahrain Grand Prix: F1 champion Verstappen of Red Bull on pole for season-opener
- Ranji Trophy semifinal: Chandrakant Pandit eyes victory against former side as Vidarbha, Madhya Pradesh face off
- German Open 2024: Jolly-Gayatri bow out of quarterfinals, lose to Chinese pair of Jing-Min
- Mohun Bagan vs Jamshedpur FC highlights, MBSG 3-0 JFC, ISL 2023-24: Sadiku, Cummings, Petratos goals guide Mariners to comfortable win
- ISL 2023-24: Mohun Bagan Super Giant cruises to win against Jamshedpur FC