'I belong to the top level of football' - Mourinho eyes big next job after Man Utd sackingThe Special One's last foray into management ultimately ended in disappointment, but he believes he can still succeed among football's elite
Jose Mourinho has returned “old school” qualities to his Manchester United side, says Dimitar Berbatov, with the class of 2018-19 proving that they can grind out results.
The Red Devils were famed during Sir Alex Ferguson’s iconic reign for their ability to pick up points when not at their best, with those traits delivering an enviable haul of major silverware.
United have struggled to scale those heights since the legendary Scot headed into retirement, with Mourinho finishing 2017-18 empty-handed after landing three trophies in his debut campaign.
The Portuguese has found the going tough again at times this term, but he has seen his side collect three successive victories over recent weeks – with the latest of those seeing Juventus stunned by a dramatic finish to a Champions League clash in Turin.
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Former United striker Berbatov told Betfair of a welcome upturn in fortunes: “What a turnaround from Jose Mourinho's team in Turin on Wednesday.
“Juventus scored a phenomenal goal through Cristiano Ronaldo and could have been three or four up, hitting the woodwork twice, but Manchester United stuck in there, didn't give up and were rewarded in the end. It was like old school United!
“The game once again showed the importance of set pieces. Juventus had the better of the game, but United scored a great free-kick through Juan Mata and then a second after a good Ashley Young delivery. Yes, they had a slice of luck there, but it was one of those crosses that goalkeepers and defenders hate.
“Mata wasn't in the team much at the start of the season but he's played an increasingly important role in recent weeks and the way he celebrated the goal - running over to the coaching staff - showed what a team player he is. He understands that the team is the most important thing and that some weeks he won't be in the side. A great professional.”
Berbatov added on Mourinho’s reaction to United’s victory over Juve, which saw the former Inter boss taunt the home support: “A lot of the post-match headlines were about Mourinho's reaction to the Juventus fans at the end of the game.
“Was it the right thing to do? No, but we're all human. He must have been getting a lot of abuse from the home fans and it shouldn't overshadow what was a fantastic result for his team.”
Mourinho and United will be hoping to celebrate behind enemy lines again on Sunday, with their next outing set to take them across Manchester to arch-rivals City.
Berbatov believes an intriguing clash lies in store, with both teams having shown enough of late to suggest that they are capable of claiming the spoils.
The Bulgarian said: “With both teams getting positive results in the Champions League, the Manchester derby clash on Sunday couldn't have been set up better.
“City are in great shape of course, scoring goals for fun, but United have had some positive results, showing good spirit to come back from behind more than once and it will be difficult for both teams.
“Of course, United defenders will have to be on top form to keep out [Raheem] Sterling, [Sergio] Aguero and co, but Juventus were also odds-on favourites and had the likes of Ronaldo and [Paulo] Dybala in their ranks, so it can be done.”