Bryan Robson: Mourinho similar to Ferguson, Pogba a future captain, Sanchez would be great No.7
Having joined Manchester United years before Sir Alex Ferguson’s arrival, former midfielder Bryan Robson has seen a lot at the club.
His long career at United saw league struggle long before glory, making Robson well placed to know what it takes to turn things around.
Speaking to Sport Witness in São Paulo, where he was invited by New Era for the launch of the new Manchester United caps, the club legend spoke about José Mourinho’s first season in charge of the team, and compared it to Sir Alex’s start.
“I think they’re very similar,” Robson told Sport Witness. “They’re both winners, they’ve both got great records as managers.
“You know he’s very strict with the players on certain aspects of the game, Mourinho, and Sir Alex Ferguson was that way as well.
“The training is very similar, because I’ve been down to the training ground a few times to watch the team train, so there are quite a few similarities between the two of them.”
With the club spending three seasons without fighting for the Premier League title, Robson believes progress is now being made to get back to the top.
“Well, obviously, you know, Sir Alex leaving the club, that was a big miss, and obviously with David Gill, the chief executive leaving the club as well.
“You know they’ve tried a couple of managers. They didn’t quite work. The buys didn’t quite come off, but since Mourinho has come in I think you can see the improvement.
“His four signings have been very good and improved the team, so I think we’re going in the right direction, and next season, with a couple more signings, we’ll be up there challenging for the title.
“I think the best change he’s made is that we’re a little more adventurous going forward, we don’t keep the ball as much as under Van Gaal, so he’s made that change, but the players that he’s signed have given the team a bit of a different dimension, so they look like a better side at the moment.”
Despite that, Manchester United have struggled to get enough victories in the Premier League this season and are currently sixth, albeit with games in hand.
That’s why, according to Robson, the Europa League could be the best route back to UEFA’s premier club competition.
“It won’t be easy in both competitions. We’ve got a real difficult schedule because of being successful in the two cup competitions. They’re going to have to play a lot more games than other teams who are going for the top four.
“For me, when I look at the Europa League, I would say that is our best chance of getting into the Champions League this season.”
Known as Captain Marvel, Robson made history as Manchester United’s longest serving skipper. As well as longevity, Robson brought personality to the role with crucial goals and all action performances from midfield.
Despite there being nobody on that level at the moment, Robson believes there’s a young midfielder who could lead the side in the future.
“Mourinho will make that decision regarding who’s captain, but once Paul Pogba is settled into the club again, gets used to the Premier League again, as long as he keeps improving, I think he’s captain material.
“I think Paul works really hard at his game. I think he wants to be one of best, if not the best midfielder in the world, so he’ll keep working at it, keep improving and become a real bright player for Manchester United.”
The current squad is obviously lacking a vital element for the club. The number seven shirt, which was worn by the likes of George Best, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, once belonged to Robson too.
When asked who should be wearing the shirt next season, the legendary No.7 picked out Alexis Sanchez.
“I know that Sanchez seems to be a bit unsettled at Arsenal. He wears number seven at Arsenal. I wouldn’t mind seeing Sanchez come in wearing the number seven for Manchester United.”
Many Manchester United fans will agree with Bryan Robson, but signing Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal will be very difficult indeed.