Ander Herrera has defended Jose Mourinho’s tactics, saying that avoiding reckless attacks does not make the Manchester United boss a defensive manager.
Mourinho has come under criticism in his career for conceding possession in favour of sitting back in defence, and before United’s most recent game — a 3-1 win at Swansea — Mourinho’s side had not scored more than one goal in a game in domestic competition since Sept. 24.
But in an interview with The Guardian and The Daily Mail the United midfielder called that perception a “myth.”
“There’s an idea of Mourinho that’s flawed,” Herrera said of the possession debate. “In many games we’ve had more possession. Liverpool had more [in a 0-0 draw] but otherwise we’ve had more of the ball and more chances. …
“Mourinho’s an attacking coach; what he’s not is a kamikaze. He doesn’t have us playing like mad men.
“He likes the ‘rest defence’ but he’s an attacking coach who gives players freedom.
“He’s also honest, sincere, says what he thinks to your face. If a coach isn’t honest, players rumble him. There’s a very good relationship. Mourinho’s very straight.”
Herrera also dismissed any rumblings of turmoil between Mourinho and the players in the dressing room at Old Trafford.
“The team’s fine, enjoying the work, training well. I like Mourinho’s sessions: very dynamic, always with the ball,” Herrera said. “There are no really long sessions or talks. He understands what a footballer needs: 20 minutes, that’s it. No time to lose concentration.”
Herrera is set to make his international debut for Spain against England in a friendly on Tuesday, and the the 27-year-old credited his club manager for giving him a chance to play for his country.
“I have come here because Mourinho has given me the opportunity to take on a new position and I feel comfortable with it,” he said.
“I’m more defensive now, playing in front of the back four. I think I have that ability to win the ball back quickly when we lose it. I have taken a leap forward at United which has allowed me to get into the national side.”