Ron Atkinson warns Jose Mourinho about using siege mentality tactics at Man Utd

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Former Manchester United manager Ron Atkinson has warned current boss Jose Mourinho that his siege mentality tactics won't work at Old Trafford.

The "Special One" criticised the referee and even blamed his own players, most notably Luke Shaw, after Sunday's 3-1 defeat to Watford, which capped off a terrible period for United in which they lost three matches in eight days.

Mourinho often adopted an "us against the world" style of leadership during his time at Real Madrid and Chelsea, however Atkinson is not impressed and he's warned Jose not to address United's current crisis by trying to turn it into his "personal fiefdom".


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Big Ron fears that the 53-year-old Portuguese coach could resort to familiar methods by creating a "claustrophobic" environment at the club but insists that United aren't suited to that type of insularity.

At the launch of his autobiography, two-time FA Cup winner Atkinson said, via The Mirror, "I have never been a huge fan of this siege mentality he (Mourinho) brings to his clubs. There's nothing wrong with being fiercely protective of your players, but that doesn't mean you have to antagonise everybody else.

"As I say in the book, I don’t think that approach would work at Manchester United because it can lead to the club becoming claustrophobic. It is a global brand and you cannot run it as your personal fiefdom."

He continued, "United is an ­expansive club, it’s a club of the people. Telling everyone that ‘It’s us against the world’ doesn’t really wash, because United have lots of friends – they probably have more fans on the planet than anyone else.

“Jose has an engaging personality and it would be a shame if he got sidetracked by siege mentality and taking on the world.”

Derby defeat

Mourinho won his first four games in charge of Man Utd, however that winning run was ended by Manchester City and the subsequent results mean that he has now lost 14 of his last 32 games at Chelsea and United.

On the derby, Atkinson admitted, "I was surprised by the way United played in the derby. All credit to City, who look phenomenal, but I thought Jose would have set up his team to play higher up the pitch.

“It would have been an eye-opener for him to see the way City went about it, with David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne finding pockets of space. United were never outnumbered in midfield, but they were ­outmanoeuvred. You can’t imagine that scenario if Roy Keane and Paul Scholes had been playing.

“For the first 10 minutes, they would have announced themselves, and tried to break up the little ­triangles City were forming, and I didn’t see that in Jose’s team in the derby.”

Mourinho's United will have two chances to get their season back on track, first with the midweek trip to Northampton Town in the EFL Cup and second when they welcome champions Leicester City to Old Trafford on Saturday.

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Wayne Rooney
Paul Pogba
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Paris Saint-Germain
Premier League
Paul Scholes
Manchester United
Jose Mourinho

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