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Carragher doubts Man Utd fans will tolerate Mourinho tactics

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Mourinho tactics under-fire after Anfield stalemate
Mourinho tactics under-fire after Anfield stalemate

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has suggested Manchester United supporters will not tolerate the negative tactics Jose Mourinho promoted in the 0-0 draw at Anfield last Monday.

Mourinho came under fire after his side displayed a lack of ambition against Liverpool, with critics suggesting United’s traditions for playing attacking football had been betrayed by their display against their old foes.

Now Liverpool great Carragher has questioned whether United fans will be content to watch their team playing in defensive mode, even though he suggests the tactics were justified on a night when Mourinho’s side ground out a dour draw.

“Liverpool could not complain about his tactics,” stated Carragher in his Daily Mail column.

“I played for teams that went away in Europe to do what United did and a game against Barcelona, in the first leg of the UEFA Cup semi-final in April 2001, is the best example.

“Neutrals cannot complain either as it is not Jose’s job to entertain them. He is there to get results and he knew he could not afford to lose on Monday.

“How, though, do United fans feel about him nullifying their attack?

“There is an understanding of his methods at the moment.

"Having endured two years of Louis van Gaal, they are prepared to show patience but what happens in 12 months if they are still going away to their biggest rivals and seeing Mourinho’s tactics stifling his own team, which contains some of the best and most expensive talent in the Premier League?

“With players such as Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rashford, United fans won’t accept the idea they won’t try to attack.

“Mourinho suggested last month he is more inclined to play with an ambitious style at United and claimed it was the personnel at Chelsea that led to his style. 

“He used Juan Mata as an example to illustrate what he had left behind to where he is now but can you see Mourinho using a free spirit such as him if he wants to grind out a point somewhere? No. The reasons Mata never played big games at Chelsea for Mourinho still apply now.

“A defeat, particularly if he uses stifling tactics again, would look bad and lead critics to ask why he never made more use of his attacking options.

“A draw would be reasonable but a win would put United on track. Not only that, it would shine a light on the Chelsea players he left behind.”

Carragher was equally scathing of Chelsea ahead of their clash with United’s Mourinho on Sunday, as he suggested they have looked scared against the top sides in the Premier League this season.

“I thought they had the potential to be title challengers under Antonio Conte, particularly without any European distractions, yet if you dissect their results, you can begin to see why Mourinho wanted to illustrate the role he played in the run to the title.

“Chelsea have played 30 Premier League times since Mourinho was sacked, winning just 13 of them.

"In eight matches against their traditional rivals United, Manchester City, Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal, they have scored six goals and won only one fixture, at the Emirates on January 24.

“They have looked terrified in the big games they have contested so far this campaign.

"Liverpool blitzed them for an hour at Stamford Bridge, while Arsenal battered Chelsea at the Emirates. Is that to do with Conte’s tactics or does it show a bigger problem with players?”