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Eric Cantona takes sideswipe at future United coach Mourinho

Jose Mourinho is closing in on becoming United's new manager despite club great Eric Cantona saying incoming City boss Pep Guardiola would have been a better pick.
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Eric Cantona

Jose Mourinho was closing in on becoming Manchester United's new manager on Tuesday despite club great Eric Cantona saying incoming Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola would have been a better pick.

Mourinho's agent Jorge Mendes was in talks with United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, British media reported, less than 24 hours after Louis van Gaal's troubled two-year reign came to a sour end.

Jose Mourinho
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Former Chelsea boss Mourinho, one of football's most intriguing characters, would march into Old Trafford boasting a personal trophy haul that includes three English Premier League titles and two Champions League crowns.

But Cantona, whose goals helped fire United to four Premier League titles in the 1990s, said the defensive-minded Portuguese was the wrong man for the job, in an unexpected and incendiary intervention.

"Guardiola was the one to take," the Frenchman told The Guardian newspaper. "He is the only one to change Manchester (United). He is in Manchester, but at the wrong one."

Pep Guardiola
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Cantona's comments will only inflame the personal rancour between Mourinho and Guardiola.

Mourinho would arrive at Manchester United just as Guardiola joins their bitter rivals Manchester City from Bayern Munich, for his first taste of the Premier League.

When Mourinho was in charge of Real Madrid and Guardiola running their sworn enemy Barcelona, the Portuguese never missed an opportunity to take a swipe at the Spaniard.

However, Mourinho won just three of their 16 meetings.

"I love Jose Mourinho, but in terms of the type of football he plays I don't think he is Manchester United," said Cantona, who turned 50 on Tuesday. "I love his personality, I love the passion he has for the game, his humour. He is very intelligent, he demands 100 percent of his players. And of course he wins things.

"But I don't think it's the type of football that the fans of Manchester United will love, even if they win."

Outgoing Paris Saint-Germain forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sporting Lisbon midfielder Joao Mario, Everton defender John Stones, Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic and Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann are reportedly among the names on his wanted list.

But Mourinho might also have to deal with scepticism that his rock-solid defensive approach might prove too similar to those of Van Gaal, whose dull tactics frustrated United fans.

If he can rebuild the confidence of his squad and make United champions for the first time since 2013, Mourinho may regard it as his finest achievement yet.


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