Michael Owen claims Rafa Benitez is 'cold towards his players' ahead Newcastle's visit to Old Trafford

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Michael Owen says Rafa Benitez and Jose Mourinho have "personality traits" which are "hard to like" ahead of Newcastle United's visit to Old Trafford.

The former Newcastle and Manchester United striker has labelled Benitez and Jose Mourinho are "outstanding tacticians".

However, Owen has also described them as "cold towards their players" ahead of tomorrow evening's meeting between his former clubs.

"There's no question that both Benitez and Mourinho are outstanding tacticians – two of the best in the business – but they also have personality traits that are hard to like,” BT Sport pundit Owen told Yahoo Sport.

“Benitez's a master at setting at team up that will be tough to break down, and Mourinho has shown time and again down the years that he knows how to take a sting out of a game as well, but you also hear a lot of stories that suggest the two men are also quite cold towards their players when they want to be.

“I didn’t work with Benitez for long before I left Liverpool to join Real Madrid in the summer of 2004, but speaking to friends like Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, they would say that Rafa's not the warmest of characters around his players.

“Benitez gets the best out of teams, and he's done well at Newcastle, but he doesn't appear to be a manager who puts his arm around players and gives them that kind of emotional support when they night need it."

On Mourinho, Owen added: "You hear similar tales about Mourinho being distant with his players."