The United manager is just seven games into his reign at Manchester United but is already wrestling with his first crisis after a run of three successive defeats.
Our article after Sunday’s defeat at Watford tore into both Mourinho and world record signing Paul Pogba, but a report in the Daily Mirror claims the United boss feels it is the aftermath of the Van Gaal era which is to blame for their current plight.
The paper claims Mourinho has told friends he feels the players are ‘still hindered by the rigid style of play’ under his old Barcelona mentor Van Gaal, three months after he began working with them.
He believes he is having to ‘retrain the players to think for themselves’ after two years of being ‘stifled’ by the Dutchman’s mental-straitjacket approach.
The new United boss criticised left-back Luke Shaw for Watford’s second goal in the 3-1 defeat at Vicarage Road last weekend, but does understand the full-backs are being asked to do the opposite of what was required of them by Van Gaal.
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Mourinho wants his full-backs to push forward, after they had two years of LVG telling them to pass inside to the centre-half to retain possession.
The Special One can see some of his players are confused and feels this has contributed to a losing streak that could reach four games in the League Cup at Northampton on Wednesday night.
It is believed he feels midfielder Ander Herrera, in particular, is struggling to cope after being told to play differently by Van Gaal.
But the paper claims Mourinho is confident the players will successfully adapt to his style of play though, given time.
He will make changes for the trip to League One side Northampton and is considering resting Wayne Rooney – the skipper has struggled of late and one leading bookmaker has cut the odds on him leaving Old Trafford before the end of the next transfer window.