'Mourinho's a big boy' – Lampard feels for under-fire Man Utd boss

Jose Mourinho

Frank Lampard says Jose Mourinho is "a big boy", but admits he feels for his former boss as the Manchester United manager comes under increasing fire at Old Trafford.

The 40-year-old, who is now the manager of Championship club Derby County, won two Premier League titles, two League Cups and an FA Cup under Mourinho at Chelsea and has made no secrets of his admiration for the Portuguese. 

Manchester United have been struggling in recent weeks, having failed to win any of their last three matches, and pressure has been heaped on the two-time Champions League winner amid reports he has lost the dressing room.

In particular, Mourinho's rift with Paul Pogba has been thrown under the spotlight after the Frenchman was stripped of the vice-captaincy last week for criticising Mourinho's tactics following the 1-1 draw with Wolves. 

Lampard added more pressure on Mourinho after his side defeated Manchester United on penalties in the Carabao Cup, but reiterated his admiration for his former boss to reporters, saying: "Everyone knows my feelings for Jose Mourinho as a manager.

"It is a tough moment. It is a moment that we will all have, that I will have at times, that every manager has.

"I have heard all his interviews lately. He is a big boy. He will get about doing his job. Of course I feel for him. They are not winning games and they want to be - it is Manchester United.

"In terms of players, it can be difficult. You need buy-in from your players and you need sometimes the right message to be coming out. I thought that as a player and I think it even more as a manager.

"And you need complete work rate on the pitch. I am not talking about individuals here, I am saying that is what you need."

Mourinho seemed to take a dig at his players at a press conference on Monday, claiming that some players care more than others about United's slide of late.

The Reds' clash against Valencia is highly anticipated with widespread speculation that a bad result could result in Mourinho losing his job. 

It will be the first time United have played at Old Trafford in the Champions League since their shock defeat to Sevilla last season, and the manager will be hoping for a better performance this time out.