Souness: United only appointed Jose as City got Pep

Matt Stead

Graeme Souness has claimed that Manchester United only appointed Jose Mourinho as manager as they knew they needed a “big name” to compete with Pep Guardiola.

Mourinho was named as the replacement for Louis van Gaal in the United hotseat last summer on a three-year deal.

The Portuguese’s arrival followed Manchester City’s announcement in February that Guardiola would succeed Manuel Pellegrini as manager.

Neither manager’s first season went exactly to plan, with United finishing sixth in the Premier League but winning two trophies, and Guardiola enduring his first campaign as a manager without winning silverware.

Liverpool legend Souness claims United’s Premier League campaign “will not be acceptable”, and that Mourinho was only appointed in reaction to Guardiola’s arrival.

“I didn’t think Mourinho was right for United and I said that from day one,” he told Yahoo.

“Because Guardiola was coming in at Manchester City, the people making decisions at Old Trafford felt compelled to go and get a big name manager and they ended up with Jose.

“He has taken on a very difficult job at United and struggled to find his find his best eleven last season, if he ever found it.

“A big concern for me that their best player for most of last season was a 35-year-old in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with 35-year-old Michael Carrick also one of the top performers.

“Mourinho is used to winning league titles and finishing where he did last season in the Premier League will not be acceptable, but it won’t be easy to put it right.”