Mourinho has been ‘courageous’ – Neville praises embattled Man Utd boss

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The former England defender has compared the attitude of the Portuguese to Sir Alex Ferguson

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been “courageous” in the face of recent criticism of his team, according to ex-Red Devils defender Phil Neville.

United have lost two of their opening three Premier League matches of the season and on Monday were humbled 3-0 at home by Tottenham the worst home loss in Mourinho’s career in management .

While the manager’s increasingly erratic behaviour has hit the headlines , Neville has been impressed by the Portuguese’s stout defence of his team.

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“All the focus is on Jose because he is taking the battering at the moment. That is a sign of a courageous manager that doesn't throw his players under a bus and is protecting them,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live .

“There are players in that Manchester United dressing room that probably know that they can be playing better but he is not criticising them publicly at the moment.

'He is actually taking the hits for them. As a young manager, that's something that I am looking at and thinking: ‘That's something that I would like to do for my players’.”

Neville, who has experience of the pressure that comes with a struggling side at Old Trafford, explained that Mourinho’s approach mirrors that of one of the club’s most legendary figures.

“There were times when Sir Alex Ferguson took the pressure off us as players,” he said before going on to back the under-pressure former Real Madrid and Inter boss.

“He'll not be happy with what he has seen in the first three games but he is the right man for the job because of his proven track record.”

United face a trip to Burnley on Sunday before a week’s reprieve due to the international break.