Sir Alex Ferguson calls Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho saga 'disappointing'



Posted Thursday, August 31, 2017 by ESPN

Sir Alex Ferguson calls Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho saga 'disappointing'
Philippe Coutinho has not played for Liverpool so far this season due to illness and a back injury.

Sir Alex Ferguson has called Liverpool's ongoing transfer saga with Philippe Coutinho "disappointing" in light of the opportunities the club afforded him to become the player he is today.

Coutinho, 25, has been a target of Barcelona this summer, with Liverpool knocking back three sizable bids from the Catalans thus far and a fourth possibly coming before the close of the window.

The Brazil international, who reportedly put in a transfer request with the team earlier in August, is away with the Selecao ahead of a pair of World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Colombia and has not played for Liverpool yet this season.

Speaking to the UEFA Elite Coaches Forum in Nyon, Switzerland, the legendary Manchester United manager said: "I think strong management is crucial in this situation. Part of your job as a coach also is to educate your players' character so they have a responsibility to what they're doing.

"Obviously, in some cases, that is changing a bit. It's disappointing because I'm sure that, in the case of Liverpool, they did a very good job in making Coutinho the player he is today.

"So, it's a bit disappointing but you have to deal with it and the transfer window doesn't help in that situation.

"If it closed in July, Coutinho would have continued playing and it would have been gone. The matter would have been over.

"The recommendation we look at is to close the window before the season starts, so everyone knows which players they've got and aren't waiting to see what the first results are going to be."

Sir Alex also called current United boss Jose Mourinho in for praise at the forum, hailing his decision to embrace the chance to reach the Champions League via the Europa League after the team's likelihood of finishing top-four in the Premier League looked out of reach.

He said: "I think that the Europa League has taken on arms and legs since they made the decision to let the winner enter the Champions League.

"Jose seized on that and he was playing his best team in every round, right from the start. He deserved to win it because his attitude was first class.

"Once Jose realised he wasn't going to win the league back home in England, his intent of winning the Europa League became greater and greater as each round came along. That was a great achievement."

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