Manchester United academy chief Nicky Butt has defended former first-team bosses Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, insisting it was a ‘myth’ that they disrespected the youth while they were in charge at Old Trafford.
Both Van Gaal and Mourinho received plenty of stick for their perceived ignorance when it came to the academy, with both managers seemingly opting for tried and tested options instead.
That said, Butt admits he does prefer life under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the current incumbent happy to blood through youngsters on a regular basis.
United academy chief Nicky Butt (left) has defended the reigns of two former managers
Butt says that Jose Mourinho (right) got unfair criticism when it came to his youth policy
Speaking in the latest MUTV Group Chat, Butt said: ‘I think it’s harsh on van Gaal and Mourinho, and David Moyes to a point, because they didn’t come into United and go this is it, move it all to one side, disrespect Man United and we’ll do it this way.
‘They didn’t. They never did – it’s a myth that they did. Mourinho was brilliant with me. He spoke to me every single day at breakfast and asked about the kids. He did a few meetings with the kids when they were going to Portugal [in the UEFA Youth League] and telling them what to expect and so on.’
Butt concedes that it was difficult for the foreign bosses coming in, as they arrived at Carrington and didn’t know anybody when beginning their tenure.
For Solskjaer, of course, things are very different given his history as a United player, and Butt admits that puts him in a more fortunate position than some that came before him.
Louis van Gaal (centre) is another former Manchester United boss who gets plenty of stick
Butt did admit that he prefers life now under the management of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (left)
‘If me and you and Ben [Thornley] and Maysie [David May] said “Let’s go and work at Real Madrid”, you’re not going to know anybody,’ he continued.
‘There’s that many people that stab you in the back in football as you all know. If you’re going into an environment you don’t know, you’re not going to open the door to every Tom, Dick and Harry, because you don’t know who these people are, you don’t know where they’re going. So you can understand both sides of the story.
‘Obviously, I prefer the way it is now, I preferred the way it was when we were there [as players], but that’s because we knew everybody. You trusted the canteen staff, you trusted the cleaning staff, because you knew them when you were 16, so we can look at it in a bubble and go “all these managers come in here and it’s shocking” but I don’t think it is, because you’ve got to put yourself in their position, and if you went out to a club you didn’t know, it’ll be totally different.’
Butt (left), like Solskjaer, spent lots of time at United as a player and therefore knows the club