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'Man United only got Mourinho because of Guardiola'

Graeme Souness believes the Red Devils only made a change in the dugout after seeing Manchester City make a high-profile appointment.

Graeme Souness believes Jose Mourinho's appointment at Man United was a reaction to Pep Guardiola taking charge at rivals City.
Graeme Souness believes Jose Mourinho's appointment at Man United was a reaction to Pep Guardiola taking charge at rivals City.

MAN UNITED ONLY appointed Jose Mourinho because they “felt compelled to get a big name” after seeing Pep Guardiola join Manchester City, says Graeme Souness.

The former Liverpool manager admits that he was never convinced by the Red Devils’ choice to bring in the Portuguese as Louis van Gaal’s successor.

He also feels that both Manchester clubs have presented a “very difficult job” to the high-profile figures in their respective dugouts.

Both Mourinho and Guardiola failed to mount a Premier League title challenge in 2016-17 and while the former did land three trophies, more will be expected in their second years at the helm.

Souness told Yahoo Sport: “I didn’t think Mourinho was right for United and I said that from day one.

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 XI 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.”

Souness added on the pressure both bosses are now under: “We all thought it would be Guardiola v Mourinho doing battle at the top of the table last season, but City and United never even came close to getting into the title mix.

“Now they will be under pressure like never before because they are working for owners who expect to be challenging for the title.

The record these two guys have confirms they are great managers, but they have probably taken on the biggest challenges of their career in these two jobs and they have to respond to the task.”

Guardiola did guide City to a third-place finish in 2016-17, but they ended the campaign 15 points adrift of champions Chelsea and with no silverware to their name.

Mourinho, on the other hand, did taste Community Shield, EFL Cup and Europa League success with United, but saw the Red Devils forced to settle for sixth spot in the Premier League.

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