Manchester United will want assurances from José Mourinho that he understands the club’s traditions and is willing to fall into line if they decide that the former Chelsea manager should take over from Louis van Gaal.
While the club are giving serious consideration to moving out the Dutchman after three damaging defeats in a row, there is still concern at the highest level of Old Trafford about Mourinho’s managerial style and specifically the elements of his work that led them to decide against employing him when Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
United are acutely aware of Mourinho’s strengths but also mindful about the amount of conflict he tends to generate, as well as his reluctance to promote younger players. Ferguson regularly attracted controversy and had a fractious relationship with the Football Association but the feeling at Old Trafford is that Mourinho goes even further with his own outbursts and, in the worst moments, brought Chelsea into disrepute, leading to a one-match stadium ban this season. If a job offer is forthcoming, it will be made clear to him that United expect a better standard of behaviour and historically place great importance on bringing through their own players.
United are deliberating about how long Van Gaal should be given after a sequence of three wins out of the last 13 games has caused the club to fall to fifth in the Premier League – a position that would mean Europa League football next season – and nine points off the top.