Chris Hughton has defended Jose Mourinho’s negativity, attributing the Manchester United manager’s portrayal in the media to the scrutiny which comes with leading one of the world’s most famous clubs.
Mourinho’s comments and body language have contributed to a feeling of discontent around Old Trafford, with stories emerging of disagreements between the Portuguese coach and the club’s board during the summer transfer window, as well as strains in his relationship with record signing Paul Pogba.
Speaking ahead of United’s visit to the Amex on Sunday afternoon, the Brighton manager spelt out his admiration for his opposite number.
“I think that’s what happens when you are a top, top manager,” Hughton said of the bluster around Mourinho. “He is one of our best managers, if you look at the record he has of winning things, and I think when you are that type of manager, you are going to be in the spotlight far more than others and everything is going to be picked up.
“They got off to a wining start last week (beating Leicester 2-1), which is something they do on a regular basis. I just think he’s a very high-profile manager. But he’s managing a team that are more used to winning than losing.”
While Mourinho has been frustrated with Manchester United’s summer business, Hughton has spoken of his delight with Brighton’s £60m spree, but he warned that expectations should not be allowed to outstrip their realistic prospects following a disappointing opening weekend defeat to Watford.
”What we do have, and have experienced so far, is a very realistic set of supporters. There is no doubt that it is normal for expectations to rise. That is anywhere. There are some clubs who have spent big money this summer and expectations will rise. The club have come a long way in a relatively short period of time.
“If we look at our starting line-up last weekend we had one new player [Bernardo] starting. Others who will be introduced over a period of time.”
One of those is the defender Martin Montoya, the £6m signing from Valencia, who is expected to make his first appearance for the Seagulls on Sunday, while the midfielders Yves Bissouma and Alireza Jahanbakhsh are also in contention to start.