Former Manchester United striker Jordi Cruyff has taken a swipe at Jose Mourinho, claiming that the club’s caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer “doesn’t put his ego before the interests of the club.”
Mourinho was sacked as United boss in December having presided over a dire start to the season and with moral around Old Trafford in disarray.
The Portuguese publically slated his players after disappointing results and blamed them for the team’s plight, referring to the club’s record signing Paul Pogba as “a virus” following a 2-2 draw with Southampton earlier in the season.
But under Solskjaer, United revived instantly, winning the Norwegian’s first eight games in charge to haul themselves back into contention for a Champions League place, and his former team-mate Cruyff believes that a change in personal approach has been key for the new manager.
“The most important thing was Ole never put his ego before the interests of the club,” he told The Times . “It doesn’t surprise me he’s become a coach.
“He’s a stable guy, a club man, and those kind of characters normally end up being coaches. Normally, players who have been at the club understand the DNA. [Pep] Guardiola was Barcelona B, came to the first team, knew what was necessary and the results are obvious.
“In Ole’s case, he has let the players take responsibility. He’s peaceful. He’s not making conflicts in the media, saying something to see if he can motivate the player in a provocative way.”
United responded to the sacking of Mourinho and the caretaker appointment of Solskjaer by going on a scoring spree, netting 12 goals in their next three games including a 5-1 win against Cardiff City in the Norwegian’s first game in charge.
That was in stark contrast to the final miserable days of Mourinho’s reign – the team won just one of the Portuguese’s final six games in charge.
“United’s DNA is winning, attacking, playing the same home and away, no waiting for the opponent,” said Cruyff. “It’s about fitting with a club’s DNA.
“There are a lot of great coaches who go to one place and are fantastic, and go to another place just as big and it doesn’t work out. It’s the fit. Diego Simeone, Atletico Madrid — perfect fit.”