(Reuters) - Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola should have been the “logical” choice to take charge of Manchester United as current manager Jose Mourinho’s defensive approach belies their attacking identity, former forward Eric Cantona has said.
United great Cantona helped transform former manager Alex Ferguson’s side into a force in English soccer, being the focal point of their attack for five years in the 1990s, winning four Premier League titles and two FA Cups.
Although Mourinho guided United to two titles after taking over from Louis van Gaal last year, he has been criticised for his caution in games while Guardiola’s free-flowing City have won new admirers for their ruthless run to the top of the table, including Cantona.
“I cannot understand why United would take a manager who plays in a defensive way. I love Mourinho, but I prefer to watch Barcelona play,” Cantona told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“I prefer the way Guardiola plays, and I would prefer him as manager of Manchester United, it’s more logical. I don’t watch Man City because it’s Man City but I would love to watch the team managed by Guardiola.”
City have 17 wins in a row this season and have pumped in 55 goals in an unbeaten run of 19 games in all competitions while United have lost four times and have scored 11 goals fewer to sit in second place in the league behind their neighbours.
“He (Mourinho) has a lot of charisma, has won a lot of things and will win a lot of things. But, the football I played, and Alex Ferguson played, Matt Busby before, it was creative.
“I loved (Johan) Cruyff when he was manager at Barcelona, I loved Ajax in the 1970s, I grew up with this kind of football and the football we played with Ferguson was very creative and more Manchester United.
“It’s why I prefer the way Guardiola plays and I would prefer to have him as manager of Manchester United.”
(This version of the story has been correct to change the number of City’s goals.)
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Rex Gowar