ANDER HERRERA has defended his old boss Jose Mourinho and told people criticising him to “say it to his face”.
Mourinho was sacked by Manchester United in December with the club well off a top-four place.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was given the job on an interim basis, and then named full-time on a three-year contract.
The Norwegian has been credited with bringing the feel-good factor back to Old Trafford, and results on the field has put them back in contention for a Champions League place.
He has also managed to get the best out of Paul Pogba, who famously had a number of run-ins with Mourinho.
But Herrera, in an interview with Spanish news-site ABC, has jumped to Mourinho’s defence, and said he had a “great relationship” with “The Special One”.
The end was not the desired, but it is not the bravest to speak ill of a coach who is no longer.
The 29-year-old said: “I can only speak for myself. I have great respect and a great relationship with Mourinho.
“It has made me a better player. I was the best player of the season with him on the bench, I won titles, and I will always be grateful.
“You have to respect the people who gave their all for the club, and Mourinho did it.
“The end was not the desired, but it is not the bravest to speak ill of a coach who is no longer.
“If you want to do it, do it in front of him.”
Mourinho is still not back in football – but could be heading back to Serie A.
The Portuguese looked in line for a return to Real Madrid – until club legend Zinedine Zidane was reappointed.
Now, Sky Italia claims Mourinho has spoken to Roma chiefs over the phone to discuss a move back to Serie A.
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The negotiations are at an early stage, though it is claimed the ex-Chelsea manager is desperate to return to football.
Ex-Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri took over in Rome in March but only signed a contract until the end of the season,which includes an option to extend.
Mourinho has also been in touch with Inter Milan to discuss a return to the club, having won two Serie A titles, one Coppa Italia and also lifting the Champions League in his two-year stint at the San Siro.