Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has hit out at executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward for not backing Jose Mourinho in the summer.
Mourinho spent £68 million on three new players during the transfer window including £47m midfielder Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk. But Neville believes Woodward should have “shown faith” in his manager and brought in a centre-back, particularly after rewarding the Portuguese with a new contract in January.
“If Ed Woodward was going to doubt Jose Mourinho, the time to doubt him was at the point whereby he should have said I’m not giving you a new contract last January,” Neville said on Sky Sports. “The minute he gave him a contract extension — which some may say was unnecessary halfway through a season — believing in the manager and showing the faith, he had to then buy him the centre-backs.
“He had to get [Harry] Maguire and [Toby] Alderweireld because they wouldn’t have made those mistakes at Brighton. Don’t get me wrong, the club have supported Jose Mourinho and given him a lot of money, but you cannot go half-hearted.”
Neville was also critical of Woodward’s behaviour after the 3-2 defeat at the Amex Stadium on Sunday. He was seen grimacing at full-time and Neville says it looks, from the outside at least, that there is “angst” between Mourinho and the board.
“The CEO sat in his spot for two minutes after the game on Sunday in what I can only describe as something I don’t want to see the CEO of Manchester United do,” Neville added. “At the end of the game, stand up, go and shake the opposition CEO’s hand, tell him well done and that you’ll see him later in the season, smile and be bigger than anything.
“All I could see was a show of frustration, or something that could also be interpreted as another show of dissent. At the moment there is definitely angst between the club and Jose.”