Rio Ferdinand has welcomed Jose Mourinho to ‘the biggest club in the world’ after a report suggested the Portuguese had signed a contract to become the new Manchester United manager.
Sky Sports News claim Mourinho completed the paperwork for his move to Old Trafford on Thursday and, while the club have not made any official comment, an announcement is expected on Friday.
Ferdinand, who made over 400 appearances for United, winning six Premier League titles and one UEFA Champions League crown, is hopeful Mourinho can bring back a period of sustained success to the club after the disappointing reigns of David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.
He wrote on Facebook: “Congratulations to Jose on being announced manager of the biggest club in the world!
“This is Jose Mourinho’s most exciting & most challenging job yet.
“The first thing he needs to do is install ‘winning mentality’ back into the club. Get this ingredient back into the players but also the people that work inside the club day to day. Give them back that belief so it is breathing throughout the club again, which is so important. But doing the above in the Manchester United way is equally as important.
“I have heard many say the ‘Mourinho WAY’ is not the Manchester United style of playing football. However, the Chelsea team that Jose put together first time round when he entered the Premier League played with wingers and hurt teams with quick attacking play. They had the likes of [Arjen] Robben and [Damien] Duff on the wings who were direct and quick.
“This is a sign he knows how to get a team playing in a way Manchester United fans can look forward to seeing.”
Mourinho’s detractors have questioned whether he will maintain the club’s tradition of bringing young players into the first team; something he has not done regularly at the likes of Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.
Ferdinand failed to address the issue, but insisted the results will improve under the two-time Champions League winner.
He added: “Another doubt I keep hearing and being asked is, will he keep in with the tradition of the club which is bringing through the young players? For the moment, I can’t answer this, only time will tell.
“One thing I can tell Manchester United fans is that they have got themselves a true winner in all aspects. His CV shows success!
“After his recent unsuccessful time at Chelsea in the final year, I can assure you this winner is now a wounded animal which makes him such a mouthwatering appointment. Jose went from winning the League cup &Premier League to losing a dressing room at Chelsea and I am certain he will want to restore all of that very quickly.
“He will be desperate to silence the media who have been writing and saying negative things about him (he will have stored it all being the competitor he is) and will be as focused as ever.
“Mourinho’s huge personality is made for this great club, it’s what he has been waiting for. Wishing him all the best!”
Meanwhile, Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has backed former manager Mourinho to be a success at United.
Courtois was Mourinho’s first-choice keeper as Chelsea won the Premier League in 2014-2015 before the club embarked on a torrid run of form that resulted in his removal as manager at Stamford Bridge in December.
But the Belgium international, 24, believes Mourinho’s presence will ensure facing United is a challenging prospect next season.
“He’s a very good manager,” Courtois told Sky Sports. “Obviously this season it was not our year but I’m confident he’s a top manager and Manchester United will be difficult to beat next year.”
And Courtois has also backed his own team to bounce back after following up their title win with a shock 10th-place finish.
“When a big team has a season like that, everybody learns from it,” said the ex-Atletico Madrid shot stopper.
“Not only the players and manager but the directors, fans, everybody. We will be back stronger next year.”
Willian also expects Manchester United to be a fearsome outfit under Mourinho, amid reports that he could reunite with the former Chelsea manager at Old Trafford.
Brazil international Willian enjoyed his finest individual campaign at Stamford Bridge last season, though his team-mates were unable to follow suit and their Premier League title defence ended in tatters, with Mourinho sacked in December.
Mourinho is poised to take charge at United after the sacking of Van Gaal and has reportedly earmarked Willian for a $121.89 million swoop when he assumes control.
And Willian was keen to talk up his relationship with ‘The Special One’ as he prepares for the Copa America Centenario.
“Jose is one of the most successful coaches in the world and Manchester United will be stronger with him as manager,” the winger, 27, was quoted by The Sun.
“I played some of my best football under Mourinho. He is a special coach and I have a great relationship with him.
“Winning the Premier League with him was one of the highlights of my career. I was sad things didn’t work out after that.”
Willian scored 11 goals in all competitions for Chelsea in 2015-2016.