LONDON (Reuters) - Jose Mourinho is a proven winner who is the perfect choice as Manchester United manager, the club’s former defender Phil Neville said on Sunday.
British media reported that the 53-year-old Portuguese will be handed the job next week, ending Dutchman Louis van Gaal’s two-year reign at Old Trafford after he led his team to victory in the FA Cup final on Saturday.
“Mourinho is a proven winner. United fans want a team challenging for the league title, they don’t want a team finishing in seventh or fifth,” Neville told the BBC.
Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea in December, seven months after leading them to the Premier League title in his second spell in charge of the London club.
“When Jose finishes at a club there is a pattern where he falls out with players, gets disgruntled and the team dips,” Neville said.
“I can’t see him staying for too long at United - maybe two or three years seems to be his shelf life at a club - but as long as he brings success United fans won’t be unhappy.”
Since Alex Ferguson stepped down as manager three years after leading United to the Premier League title for the 13th time, they finished seventh in the table under David Moyes and fourth and fifth under Van Gaal.
“He (Mourinho) is not the type of manager that will come in and say this is a transitional period and finishing fourth in the league will be enough - that won’t be enough for the United fans,” said Neville who played for United under Ferguson from 1995-2005.
Mourinho has also managed Porto, Inter Milan and Real Madrid, winning the league title at least once with each club. He also led Porto and Inter to victory in the Champions League.
“I am a Manchester United fan and next season I want them to be winning the league,” Neville said.
“That will be the demands put on him and I am sure he will have the same expectation.”
Neville believes Mourinho has the personality to cope with the demands of the position.
“I know you have to manage a certain way when you’re manager of Manchester United, but if you take away that brashness you lose what Jose Mourinho is about,” Neville said.
“He likes to create this siege mentality and that’s what Sir Alex (Ferguson) did for 26 years. He told us in every team meeting that the rest of the world doesn’t like you, wants you to fail, and that was the basis of our motivation in a lot of our games.”
Reporting by Ed Osmond; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty