Former Manchester United favourite Lee Sharpe expects Jose Mourinho to face severe pressure from fans next season if he fails to swap “dated” tactics for more exciting football.
United finished second in the Premier League and runners-up in the FA Cup, but some sections of the support are growing dissatisfied at Mourinho’s tactics.
United were not alone in being blown out of the water by Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, but even Tottenham and Liverpool, who finished behind the Red Devils in the standings, proved a greater attacking threat.
And Sharpe, who played for Sir Alex Ferguson’s United side from 1988 to 1996, believes tensions will only rise if Mourinho does not change his approach.
“For me it was a pretty disappointing season and not entertaining enough,” he told Press Association Sport.
“There are clubs with certain identities and United have never been a 1-0 team that sits back and rests on its laurels.
“You’ve got the blue side of Manchester under Pep, you’ve got Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool playing some of the best football in the league and United are playing slow, pragmatic, boring and even dated football.
“Maybe it’s time Mourinho reassess things tactically. He’s been one of the most successful managers in the game over 10-12 years, trophies everywhere he’s gone, so I can understand him saying, ‘I’m doing it my way’.
“But times have changed and if it doesn’t start well next season he could find himself under pressure from the fans.”
Liverpool may have fallen short in the Champions League final, not to mention six points behind United in the table, but Sharpe thinks fellow United fans will be envious of the fare on offer at Anfield.
“Who wouldn’t be?” he said during an appearance at a McDonald’s community football day.
“Liverpool play on the front foot, they’re entertaining, they’re exciting and they score a load of goals.
“The play like we used to. They’re not a team to settle on a 1-0 scoreline, they chase games. Yes, they’ll give a couple of results away and concede goals but they’re attack-minded and that’s why they got to the Champions League final.”
Sharpe’s scepticism extends to United’s chances of holding on to second place next year, and the former winger thinks the club are more likely to be looking over their shoulders than than challenging their neighbours.
“I’m sure Jose will say he’s chasing down City next year and wants to win the league, but clawing back that 19 points is just too much. It’s too far away to be thinking about City, it should be about Tottenham and Liverpool.”
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