Manchester United fans adore Ander Herrera. He’s a player who wears his heart on his sleeve and is very committed to the cause. He’s also a manager’s dream. Ask Jose Mourinho. He’ll tell you that Herrera is the perfect soldier.
It also sounds as though he believes Herrera is captain material after what he said at a University lecture in Lisbon. Petter Skogsletten attended the lecture and his account of it has been posted on Reddit. Read it fully here.
Mourinho spoke about tactics, philosophy and man-management to a room full of hopeful sports students.
Skogsletten said that Mourinho was a far cry from the cranky figure he cuts at press conferences throughout the season. Here, he was affable, patient and good-humoured. He took pictures and signed autographs afterwards.
Focusing primarily on the Europa League final win over Ajax, Mourinho reserved special praise for one player. Ander Herrera played a key tactical role for the second goal. We’ll let Skogsletten take it from here.
‘”Mourinho talked a lot about Herrera, saying he is one of the smartest players he has had during his career,” said Skogsletten. Mourinho also spoke about the corner line that made the final. And as he himself had not planned!
Before the match, Mourinho had made it clear that Henrikh Mkhitaryan would be out of the box on offensive dead balls and dodge Ajax if they were to be in contravention.
“Suddenly Herrera took hold of Mkhitaryan and sent him in front of the keeper, while he would take the pitch outside the box. Mourinho said he was so frustrated that he tore the fourth quarter and said “what the hell is going on?”
Mourinho had later understood that Herrera had noticed something even the United coach had not remembered.
“It turned out Herrera had taken responsibility in the situation. The reason was that the Mkhitaryan had a yellow card, so if Ajax suddenly put in a counterattack, and Mkhitaryan had fouled the player, he would have been expelled with a one-goal lead. In addition to preventing a potential disaster, Herrera helped United control the game.
“For the same corner, Mkhitaryan poked United’s second scoring in the match. Mourinho said he is incredibly pleased to have such players who can handle situations on their own and adjust,” says Skogsletten.’
Little wonder that Mourinho refuses to listen to Barcelona offers for Herrera.