Deco defends Jose Mourinho over criticism of Man Utd players

Deco tells Sky Sports News' James Dale that Manchester United knew what they were getting into when they hired Jose Mourinho

Ahead of the FA Cup final between Chelsea and Manchester United, Deco gives Sky Sports News’ James Dale an insight into handling criticism from Jose Mourinho…

It has been 14 years since Jose Mourinho introduced himself to Chelsea as ‘the special one’. He had just guided Porto to an unlikely Champions League trophy, galloping down the Old Trafford touchline in the quarter-finals en route to glory.

Mourinho, now aged 55 and Manchester United manager, is stomping his feet towards Saturday’s FA Cup final. His public criticism of United players has dominated much of the talk in the build-up, with the Portuguese admitting some of his squad are there only out of a lack of resource to replace them.

But Deco, the creative force in Mourinho’s Porto side, has defended his old boss’ mantra. He believes United knew what they were getting.

“He is always the same,” says Deco, who almost followed Mourinho to Stamford Bridge in 2004, but opted to sign with Barcelona.

“He’s doing his job. The problem between the coach and the players is normal. He knows better than us.”

Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have been tipped for moves away from United after Mourinho, without naming specific players, laid into his side for losing 1-0 to Brighton this month. “Why always [Romelu] Lukaku? You have the answer why always Lukaku,” Mourinho said.

Both forwards were dropped for United’s following game against West Ham as Mourinho made eight changes to his side.

But the United boss’ approach has been consistent throughout his career, according to Deco. The 40-year-old suggested modern players have a different mentality when it comes to criticism.

“What happens in the dressing room is that sometimes he wants to push the players,” says Deco. “It’s complicated to manage a big club like Man United.

“In Portugal there was a lot of pressure because when he arrived we had been two, three years without a title. But I think he is the same. The players changed, the time has changed. Maybe today the reactions from the players are different.

“If Man United brings him to be a coach they knew he was like that. He puts pressure on the players, the club. He wants to win, that’s that.”

Deco left Barcelona to join Chelsea just after Pep Guardiola was appointed head coach at the Nou Camp, and has previously admitted the pair did not speak before his departure.

Real Madrid’s appointment of Mourinho instigated a rivalry between the two managers that has now continued to Manchester.

Vincent Kompany pays tribute to Man City boss Pep Guardiola as the players celebrate on their open-top bus parade

Guardiola’s City reached a record 100 Premier League points this season. Their winning margin (19 points) over second-placed Manchester United was also the widest gap in the competition’s history.

But United remain on the right path with Mourinho in charge, according to Deco.

“It’s not normal in the Premier League, what Man City did,” said Deco. “Man United had a good competition. Many times it’s not so good, but I think Man City did so well it would be difficult to repeat another season like that.

“Man United needs to stay in the right way, they have good players, maybe two or three new players for the next season. But I think they are doing well.”

Former Barcelona stars Deco and Rivaldo took on Fenners and Jimmy in the final You Know The Drill of the season. Who came out on top?

To celebrate their Ultimate El Clasico campaign, Betfair gave fans the opportunity to win a VIP experience, which included a Camp Nou tour, tickets to El Clásico and an exclusive training session at Barcelona’s training ground with club legends and Betfair ambassadors, Rivaldo and Deco. To view the full event video, subscribe to Betfair’s page here.