Ex-Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan believes that the fear factor that was present during the days of Sir Alex Ferguson are returning to Old Trafford under Portuguese boss Jose Mourinho, according to a report on Sky Sports.
Phelan spent 14 years at Manchester United and won various titles with legendary United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and he is seeing certain similarities in the team now.
“I think they are getting that (fear) back slowly because now at Old Trafford there is an atmosphere, there is an expectation and the players are reacting really well to it,” said Phelan.
Right now he’s building something, he’s got off to a terrific start and he will want to continue that,” he continued.
Mourinho has recruited well during his time as manager of the Red Devils and their blistering start to the season has sent a message to rest of the title contenders in the league that United mean business.
Mourinho’s men face possibly their toughest task yet as they travel to Anfield on Saturday to face Liverpool, with United being the favourites for the win.
Teams visiting old Trafford will certainly be more fearful of United’s lethal attack this season, something which was not the case under David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal.
The ruthlessness of United this season so far has impressed me. The players are not happy with simple 2-0 leads and continue to push for more goals, no matter what minute it is.
Do you think the fear factor is back at Old Trafford?
Let us know in the comments below or on social media!
With so many different and great Football teams across the country one of the questions I get asked most is why Manchester United? So let me tell you what it was about this particular club that drew me in to becoming a lifelong fan.
When I was younger in my house we’d never have Football on the television unless it was an England game. None of the family liked Football and so would only watch an England game due to some sense of patriotism. I remember my first game I ever watched was the game in which David Beckham scored that free kick against Greece in the 2002 World Cup Qualifiers and my Dad had been complaining the whole game (this hasn’t changed) and then when that goal went in he stood up and clapped. I immediately asked him who does this guy play for and he told me Manchester United.
It was from there that I started to take an active interest in United, we didn’t have Sky Sports so I’d watch Match of the Day every week avidly waiting for the United highlights.
Supporting United didn’t go down well at school as almost all of the kids in my year were either West Ham or Arsenal Fans. I live in Essex and so almost always get faced with similar statements such as:
“But you don’t live near Manchester so you can’t be a real fan” or “You’re only a glory hunter”.
But what started as a way to gain a Fathers approval had by this point moved in to an awe of everything which United and in particular Sir Alex Ferguson represented. It was a never say die attitude and until that whistle had gone we still have a chance. It was not enough to just win once, you had to then do it again next year. And whilst I hadn’t been watching since his arrival I was always aware I was watching every week a genius of his craft and a manager that would not be forgotten by time.
As I was growing up I was seeing the Superstars of Old Trafford becoming heroes of mine and have left me feeling connected to a club not just steeped in history but feeling a part of a club that has provided me some moments of greatness, madness and prevailing sense to win against any/all odds.
Despite the international break, there was still plenty of news circulating around Manchester United. Such as United considering Pochettino and Mourinho agreeing a deal with Valencia should he not be employed by United.
The pick of the bunch for me though, was news relating to comments made by former United boss, Sir Alex Ferguson, regarding Louis van Gaal.
I opened up Twitter that day while at work and all I saw on my timeline were United fans slating Fergie. Some being quite nasty. At first I thought “what the hell is going on?” I didn’t think for one second that he would come out and publicly defend Louis van Gaal. Not in so many words, at least. So I opened the article by MEN and read it for myself. Here is what they quote Ferguson as saying:
“It is dead easy to be critical,
“You have to be realistic about some things – the number of injuries he has had: Phil Jones has played only seven games this season, Ashley Young, (Antonio) Valencia, (Luke) Shaw, these are big losses.
“The other aspect which is always easy to forget there are also five new players in their first season at United, and two are young players in (Anthony) Martial and Memphis (Depay) and their promise is good.
“You have to have some patience being a Manchester United fan and they have shown that over the years; in Matt Busby’s time, in my time.
“For 150 years of history it is worth having a couple of years on the quiet side of success because they will always come back and come back strong.”
Now when I read the article all I took from it is that he has stated a few facts. Yes there are injuries to players who are important. Ashley Young being one of them. He has been excellent over the last couple of seasons. And yes there are new players who are young and settling in. He also, and rightly so says that patience is needed from time to time, like himself and Sir Matt Busby were afforded.
What he didn’t say is that Louis van Gaal should be afforded MORE time than he has already been given. He also didn’t say that he is ‘defending’ Louis van Gaal.
I am confident that in his head he is thinking that we should be in a much better position than we are given the time and money Louis van Gaal has had. I’m not claiming to know what Fergie is thinking, I just seriously believe he also thinks we should be in a much better position that we are. We see Ferguson many times in the stands shaking his head, looking discontented and at times yawning! So you can’t tell me that he is backing or defending LVG.
In the interview, he is being recorded and he is representing the club. He simply cannot come out and criticise van Gaal and say that he thinks the club need to change manager. Imagine the frenzy that would create within the club and how embarrassing it would be for the club.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I believe people have read far too much into this and the reason for that is the headline that was used by various media outlets – “Sir Alex Ferguson defends Manchester United manager Van Gaal”. I’m willing to bet that the majority of people didn’t even read the article and instead reacted to the headline alone. Imagine the headline had read something like, “Sir Alex Ferguson says it’s not uncommon for United to have a quiet spell”; if it did, you can bet your bottom dollar we would not have seen the same reaction, or abuse aimed at Fergie.
I think it’s a little naive to think that Louis van Gaal will be staying because he is involved in preparations for the China tour. You could argue that it was the headline and word “lifeline” being used that got people worried.
As far as I am aware, it’s normal for the manager to be involved in pre-season tour preparation, so it does not surprise me to hear that he is involved. No one knows what his situation at the club is. No one knows if he will be in charge next season. It’s most likely going to depend on how he finishes the season with the main aim being Champions League qualification. For all we know, the decision may already be made.
One we can be sure of though is that if we finish the season poorly and don’t make the top four, the fact he was involved in tour preparations will not be enough to save his job. To think it is enough would be ludicrous. Let’s just hope that Ed Woodward doesn’t think like that!