Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been likened to boxer Floyd Mayweather by Gary Neville because they both “use defence as a weapon.”
Mourinho’s style of football has been questioned following a goalless draw with Liverpool and a narrow 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur.
But former United full-back Neville insists defending well is just as much of an art as thrilling attacking football, and made the comparison between the Portuguese coach and former world champion Mayweather, who won multiple titles across several weight divisions with his patient, pragmatic approach in the ring.
United have the best defensive record in the Premier League having conceded just four times all season. They haven’t shipped a goal at home in the league since April.
Neville told Sky Sports: “Mauricio Pochettino and Jurgen Klopp have got wonderful reputations for being attacking coaches.
“But Mourinho is a little bit like Mayweather at times. Mayweather is called boring at times, where he uses defence as a weapon, let’s people punch themselves out.”
Despite the criticism, Mourinho’s United have still scored 23 goals in the Premier League this season, bettered only by Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
It has been four years since United last lifted the title. And Neville insists Mourinho’s priority is to beat Guardiola to it this season.
He added: “My personal view is he has come in to win the league. He’s got to win the league. The club hasn’t won the league for a few years.
“I have to say they’ve scored 15 goals in five games at Old Trafford, and the games I’ve been to have been exciting, they’ve played well.
“I think at the moment Manchester United need a cold, hard winner.”
Rob is ESPN FC’s Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.