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Dublin: 17 °C Sunday 9 August, 2020

'You lose against Juventus and they have 70% possession... Could you imagine that with Ferguson?'

Eric Cantona believes an ex-Manchester United player would be the ideal candidate to take the club forward.

Manchester United great Eric Cantona.
Manchester United great Eric Cantona.

ERIC CANTONA DOES not think Jose Mourinho is the right man for Manchester United and finds watching his former club an ordeal at present.

United sit 10th in the Premier League and entertain Everton on Sunday, when they will again look to kickstart what has been an underwhelming season so far.

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.

Juventus won 1-0 in the Champions League at Old Trafford in midweek – a scoreline that did not give a true reflection of the Serie A giants’ superiority – and United fans’ favourite Cantona is unimpressed.

“It’s not the right man for the right woman,” he said when discussing Mourinho’s relationship with the club at a supporters’ event filmed by the Republik of Mancunia website

“It’s the way you play. You can lose games but you take risks. You lose against Juventus and they have 70% possession of the ball at Old Trafford. Could you imagine that with [Alex] Ferguson on the bench?”

Cantona conceded Manchester City’s dominant form as reigning Premier League champions on the other side of town makes United’s current predicament tougher to stomach.

Manchester United v Juventus - UEFA Champions League - Group H - Old Trafford Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho after the defeat to Juventus. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

“I suffer. And I suffer even more when I see City play so wonderfully,” he said. “But I think kids need to have an example. They need great players, great movements, creative football to identify themselves to a player or a team.

“And I think they [United] are now losing a generation of young players. These young players identify themselves to the way City play. Can we accept that? No.”

The enigmatic Frenchman spoke of his respect for Mourinho but believes a former United player would be the ideal candidate to take the club forward, citing the example of Zinedine Zidane’s successful tenure at Real Madrid.

“We see Zidane, who was an ex-player of Real Madrid, never managed any team before and he became the manager of Real Madrid. They gave him a chance,” Cantona said. 

“[Pep] Guardiola was the same for Barcelona. Antonio Conte at Juventus, [Carlo] Ancelotti at Milan. They were all ex-players at these clubs and they were given the chance and they won so many things for them. At United, they never give a chance to a player who knows the club from the inside, who knows the identity and philosophy of the club.”

Nevertheless, Cantona had an important caveat to his proposal: “I don’t want people to think I’m saying this because I want to be manager of Manchester United. It’s just the truth. [Ryan] Giggs? Any player who wants to be the manager, they should give them the chance.”

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