Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera has hit out at those who label his current manager, Jose Mourinho, as being way too defensive-minded. Herrera, the club’s player of the year last season, was very passionate and detailed in his defense of Mourinho, a boss who often gets slapped with the too pragmatic tag, and sees it re-applied with additional force every single time Mourinho parks the bus in a big time game.

“If you look at Manchester United’s statistics, until three weeks ago, we had scored the same number of goals as Manchester City had and we were the second-highest goalscoring team in the league,” Herrera said in an interview with BeINSPORTS.

paul pogba ander herrera nemanja matic david de gea

“Many times the tags in football are needed from a journalistic standpoint but they don’t reflect the truth, not in Mourinho’s case. Last year, we won three titles having the majority of possession in most of the games and creating more (goalscoring]) chances than our opponents.

“It’s impossible to win three titles in a given season being defensive, it’s just impossible.”

The three titles that Ander Herrera is referring to there are the three minor trophies that Mourinho claimed in his debut season- the club’s first ever UEFA Europa League title, the EFL Cup and the Community Shield.

Herrera also said that a manager of Mourinho’s accomplishments has earned the right not to be slammed in the press with negative labels. The Spaniard believes that the criticisms against Mourinho are just fake news.

“You just have to see Mourinho’s track record. Before he arrived at United, he had achieved a record of (La Liga) points at Real Madrid (in 2011-12), and if I’m not mistaken the club that had scored then the most number of goals (in La Liga in 2011-12).

“He then went to Chelsea and won the league with a big point difference over their nearest rivals and also with a high goalscoring ratio.”


Herrera said he believes the label stems from the rivalry Mourinho has had with Pep Guardiola, which started in La Liga, and has thus now carried over to the Premier League. Herrera believes that this is an issue of defining individuals by duality and polarity, i.e. in opposition to another individual. The midfielder sees the origins in the time that Mourinho was Real Madrid, from 2010-2013.

“In football we all tend to put labels,” Ander Herrera continued.

“At that time, there was and still is that duality between Real Madrid and Barcelona and we had to put a tag and he got the defensive one and the other (Pep Guardiola) the offensive one. People thought that but that is just not the case.”


Match odds: Man Utd 21/20, draw 13/5, FC Basel 10/3

For the Chris Smalling press conference video, go to this link.

For the Jose Mourinho press conference video, go to this link.

Here is the link to our Man United starting XI prediction. For the injury report, go to this link.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC and Chicago, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.

Follow him on TwitterInstagramSound Cloud, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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