Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho can be the new Sir Alex Ferguson, according to Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri.
Louis van Gaal’s United finished the 2015-16 season in fifth place, 15 points behind title-winning Leicester, but the arrival of Mourinho to replace the Dutchman has changed expectations.
Leading bookmakers are all offering much shorter odds on United becoming champions rather than Leicester retaining their crown — with United being considered second favourites behind Manchester City, while Leicester are not seen to be among the frontrunners.
In an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, Ranieri said: “Mourinho can be the new Ferguson. He will not stay 26 years, but he will leave his imprint.”
Mourinho has not lasted more than three full seasons at any of the previous six clubs that he has managed, so far in his career, meaning that his ability to leave a legacy has been questioned.
At his former club Chelsea, Ranieri is impressed by the potential of Antonio Conte and backed the Italian to have a lot of fun at Stamford Bridge.
“Antonio and Chelsea were made to like each other,” he added. “They still have to get to know each other well and not let their inevitable cultural differences get between them, but if they follow his lead at Cobham then we’re going to see a Chelsea like Italy [at Euro 2016]. They’re going to have a lot of fun in London.”
Ranieri also spoke in glowing terms of the work being done by Mauricio Pochettino and Jurgen Klopp at Tottenham and Liverpool respectively.
“[Mauricio] Pochettino was an exemplary rival for Leicester at Tottenham last season and he’s working really well,” he said.
“[Jurgen] Klopp starts off with the advantage of having broken the ice and got to know the Premier League. Even he seems perfect for the special atmosphere that there is in Liverpool.”