Gary Neville thinks Jose Mourinho was being ‘mischievous’ when he accused Chelsea of being ‘very defensive’.
The Manchester United manager made the comments about Antonio Conte’s team after their weekend win over Watford, the latest in a number of barbed comments he has directed towards his former side at Stamford Bridge.
However ex-United captain Neville thinks Mourinho is actually jealous of Chelsea, and will be looking to copy the balance of the league leaders in coming seasons.
Speaking on Monday Night Football, Neville said: ‘He’s probably envious, probably saying it as a compliment, because when I watch Chelsea they look balanced to me, the right mix of what you would like.
‘I’ve never watched Chelsea this season and thought they were really boring, I’ve seen them go away to City and be absolutely outstanding, I’ve seen them be resilient when they needed to be, I’ve seen them play great football.
‘When I’ve watched them this season, they have a look of a team that’s got the right balance, and if Jose Mourinho is saying that, maybe he is being a little bit mischievous, but he’ll be thinking that is the balance of a champion team.
‘Jose will be searching for that balance, understanding that at United you need to be a little bit more expansive in the way in which he plays.’
Mourinho’s comments are especially odd as ‘defensive’ Chelsea have scored 51 goals so far this season while United have only managed 38.
Chelsea have 60 points and are eight clear of second placed Manchester City, and 12 ahead of Mourinho’s United who sit sixth.