Ex-Manchester United striker insists there is only one man for the Manchester United job = Jose Mourinho.
While Louis van Gaal defiantly insists he will still be in charge next season, speculation increases unabated on who his successor may be with many – including several former players – putting forward Ryan Giggs as the best possible candidate.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with 888sport, however, the ex-United striker believes the thirteen times Premier League champions would be wiser to opt for the shrewd know-how of a certain Special One.
“I think with what they have gone through in the past two years United would be better to have a coach with Mourinho’s experience.”
This is meant as no slight on Giggs, of course, and the Uruguayan hitman is quick to point out to what extent his eighteen years scoring goals for fun across South America and Europe has been defined by playing under managers with wizened stature. At Villarreal there was Manuel Pellegrini as the El Submarino Amarillo temporarily broke up the Barca-Real duopoly.
His brief spell in England earned him a league title and FA Cup triumph under the studied guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson, while bagging the Golden Boot award at the 2010 World Cup can be partly attributed to a coach in Oscar Tavarez who goes by the nickname of ‘the teacher’.
The 36 year old from Montevideo evidently favours miles on the clock and laughter lines in the dug-out.
The Welsh legend also misses out when Forlan nominates his most talented team-mate from his two years at Old Trafford, with Paul Scholes getting the nod, and it is answered so emphatically it’s a reminder once again of how much the midfield schemer is treasured by those who benefited from his vision.
Those who know Forlan largely for his stint in English football would question just how much he benefited at all, a return of ten goals over two campaigns meaning his time here is regarded as something of a disappointment. Yet that is a tremendous disservice to a lethal forward who ripped up goalscoring records wherever else he went. At Atletico Madrid his feats far outshine those of Fernando Torres or Diego Costa ,including a magnificent 2007/08 season that saw him crowned the top scorer across the continent with 32 La Liga goals. Mention the word ‘flop’ to Atletico fans and you risk getting a paella hurled in your direction.
This Wednesday evening at the Vicente Calderon Stadium his former club take on Barcelona in an all-Spanish Champions League quarter final second leg clash that promises plenty of fireworks and drama. Yet despite Diego Simeone’s men needing to overturn a 2-1 disadvantage Forlan advocates calm in the oncoming storm.
“Atletico must be careful to not be swayed by the euphoria of the crowd. Barcelona are masters at exploiting spaces so the issue of chasing the result must be handled carefully otherwise we will be exposed. Set pieces will be vital and it will be a tough tie as all Atletico v Barcelona games are. It’s going to be a boiler.”
It certainly will be but requiring at least one goal in such a cauldron of passion and against an indomitable Barca defence it’s also fair to state that Atletico could do with their talismanic striker Torres leading the line this week. Yet his dismissal at the Camp Nou means he is unavailable, his contentious sending off having potentially costly consequences for the rojiblancos. Looking back on the first leg encounter Forlan insists the yellows were on the cards.
“The sending off looked inevitable. Five or ten minutes earlier he’d been booked but he already looked nervous and was arriving late into every challenge he made. Barcelona knew how to take advantage of that.”
There were reportedly tears from Torres in the changing room after the game with the ex- Liverpool forward inconsolable and thinking he had blown any chance his team had of progressing. According to Forlan though he remains a pivotal figure at the club and with that in mind it’s crucial they tie him down to a contract extension this summer.
“It would be really good if they renewed his contract. He may not have scored many goals this season but his work-rate is crucial and the ones he has scored have all been important. He is still a great player and it is hugely significant that he is a local boy with the club in his heart.”