Belfast Telegraph

Wes Brown relishing Jose Mourinho's Old Trafford arrival as he studies in Belfast

In town: Wes Brown is undertaking his coaching badges in Belfast
In town: Wes Brown is undertaking his coaching badges in Belfast

By John Flack

Former Manchester United and England defender Wes Brown, who is currently in Belfast, has given a guarded welcome to the imminent appointment of Jose Mourinho as Louis van Gaal's successor in the hot-seat at Old Trafford.

Brown, who made 232 appearances for the Red Devils before moving to Sunderland in 2011, believes that United's failure to qualify for the Champions League was probably pivotal in sealing the Dutchman's fate.

The 36-year-old, who is in Northern Ireland to undertake his Uefa 'A' coaching qualification, won two Champions League medals with United in 1999 and 2008 and revealed that qualification for the competition was a minimum expectation in his days at the club.

A 3-2 defeat to West Ham in the penultimate Premier League game of the season ultimately signalled the end of United's chances of qualifying and may well have been the final nail in Van Gaal's managerial coffin.

Brown said: "I'm sure he would have been disappointed he didn't get them into the Champions League but it's not just down to the manager but the players as well.

"The club has decided to release him now and bring Jose in. I think it's just a matter of getting the right person for the team and obviously it's not happened for Van Gaal and they've decided to replace him.

"When I was at the club, we were expected to win things and win the Champions League as well or at least do well in it.

"Every year it was a given and we never really thought we wouldn't be in it; that was the standard set by the team.

"I think Mourinho is probably a good fit although I could say he'll be brilliant in the job and then things could go wrong.

"But he definitely knows how to handle it and he's been in the Premier League before so we'll see how it goes."

Brown, who won 18 trophies in his 14 years as a first-team player at Old Trafford and made 23 appearances for England, hopes Ryan Giggs, assistant boss under Van Gaal, will continue his apprenticeship under the Special One.

He said: "It's a good thing for him to learn from Mourinho; he has done the best he could have so far and it can only be a bonus having a manager like that in.

"United have always got people who've been there for a long time and they need to have people of Giggsy's standard."

Brown believes Mourinho's arrival will add spice to the Manchester derby, particularly as he will now be renewing his bitter rivalry with Pep Guardiola, who has taken over at the Etihad.

The pair had a frosty and, at times, acrimonious relationship when managers of La Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively. Brown added: "Time will tell how Mourinho will get on but it's going to be brilliant with Pep at City and Jose at United. It's going to be interesting and exciting."

Belfast Telegraph


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