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Charlton had doubts over Mourinho

Spanish-based journalist Sid Lowe claims that Jose Mourinho was never really considered a realistic option to succeed Alex Ferguson at Manchester United

Sir Bobby Charlton's concerns regarding Jose Mourinho's conduct ensured the Real Madrid coach was never a serious contender to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson as Manchester United manager, ESPN understands.

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While United legend Charlton is an admirer of Mourinho's coaching abilities, his keenness to ensure the positive public image of United is maintained meant Mourinho was never in the running for the Old Trafford hot-seat, which looks set to be filled by Everton boss David Moyes imminently.

Charlton said in the Guardian "a United manager wouldn't do that" after Mourinho gouged the eye of the then Barcelona assistant coach Tito Vilanova in a heated Supercopa tie in 2011 and his subsequent comments summed up his feelings on the coach apparently bound for a return to Chelsea.

"He is a good manager, but he pontificates too much for my liking," Charlton said of Mourinho in an interview back in December. "Mourinho is a really good coach but that's as far as I would go really."

At the news that Ferguson is to step down as United boss after 26 years in charge, Charlton offered a glowing tribute to the 71-year-old who is considered greatest manager of the modern era.

"Everything he has done has been fantastic," Charlton said of his friend Ferguson. "He is a sensational person in every form and I am really delighted for him.

"I am a director, but I hardly do anything because we are winning all the time and it is all down to Sir Alex Ferguson. He loves the game and we at the club have had nothing to do really.

"His family is the crux of the whole thing. He's very aware of his family, the club and everything that he touches. He's made his decision on various grounds, but I would say really his family and his operation in the summer.

"He deserves to have a break. He's got the hip, and there's just so much pressure on the position. It's very tough.

"He's such a fantastic manager. He could go on forever, that's the way he is, but maybe with a bit of ill health, on top of not seeing the family, he's thought this is the time to do it."

Moyes is expected to be confirmed as the next Manchester United manager in the next 48 hours, while Mourinho is tipped to return to his former club Chelsea once compensation has been agreed with his current employers Real Madrid.

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