Rio Ferdinand branded Jose Mourinho ‘laughable’ for his comments in the aftermath of Manchester United’s dramatic 3-2 victory over Newcastle.
Mourinho was under intense pressure in the lead-up to the Old Trafford clash, with some reports claiming that the Portuguese would get the sack regardless of the result versus Rafa Benitez’s men.
A disastrous start saw United go two goals behind in the opening ten minutes before a second-half fightback ensured three points for the Red Devils.
Juan Mata, who replaced Eric Bailly in only the 19th minute, scored United’s first with a free-kick and strikes from Anthony Martial and Alexis Sanchez completed the comeback.
Mourinho responded to the win by complaining about a ‘manhunt’ from sections of the media amid speculation of his imminent sacking.
‘It is the first time I see man-hunting. I can cope with it. I can live with it. Some of the boys, in spite of them not being the man that is hunted, they are not coping well with it,’ he told BT Sport.
He continued: ‘As a friend of mine was saying to me this morning, if tomorrow it rains in London it is my fault. If there are some difficulties with the agreements of Brexit, it is my fault.
‘I have to be ready for all of this. I think a lot of wickedness and clear man-hunting in football is too much.
‘It is my life. It is the life I love and since I was a kid I work for this.’
Former United defender Ferdinand hit back at Mourinho and claimed he was almost laughing at the Portuguese’s post-match interview.
‘I don’t know. I don’t know where this wickedness comes from. I don’t know what he’s talking about,’ Ferdinand said.
‘If you see something on the football pitch you talk about it. He’s Manchester United manager. Manchester United manager doesn’t go unnoticed win, lose, or draw.
‘When you sign up to manage Man United you do not expect to come in and have it your own way. Especially if things are going wrong, you’re going to be under intense scrutiny.
‘For Jose Mourinho to say “Ive seen that kind of performance, that hunger, desire, commitment and desire” many other times this season, then he’ll be wrong. He’ll be lying to say that.
‘It hasn’t been there at all. So what are we meant to say? It’s been okay and they’ll get through it?
‘You say what you see, you can’t expect anything different. To sit there and moan that ‘they’re hunting me and it’s wickedness’, I find that laughable. I was sitting here and laughing about what he was saying.”
Scholes agreed with his former teammate, saying: “He has to realise after seven, eight games in the season they were 10th in the league. They’re eighth.
‘This is Man United. It’s a team we expect to be in the Champions League. We expect to be challenging to win the league. Being 8th, 9th 10th in the league isn’t good enough. You have to expect a bit of stick.’