Sun City - Former Manchester United striker Andy Cole believes coach José Mourinho could take two to three years to transform the team into being the force it was under Sir Alex Ferguson if the “Special One” is given a chance to prove himself.
But Cole said that expecting the Portuguese mentor to win the league in his first season would be “a pipe dream”.
The 45-year-old Cole - who is the Red Devils’ ambassador – is in the country as one of golfing legend Gary Player’s special guests who competed in the Gary Player Invitational series at Lost City Golf Club at Sun City the past few days.
The charity event started with the Pro-Am showdown on Friday and the final round of the contest will be played on Sunday.
Cole, who spent six years at United and won numerous trophies before retiring, said he was optimistic that Mourinho would turn the team around.
“Pressure is on Mourinho as everybody is expecting him to win big trophies like the Premier League in his first season.
"I think this is an impossible feat to achieve for José given the fact that he has to understand the culture of the team.
"It’s going to take him a little longer to settle and be like Sir Alex. José needs to be given time,” said Cole.
The former striker has been United’s ambassador for four years. He said he was disappointed to see his old club being inconsistent in form compared with when Sir Alex was in charge.
“United have lost that aura of dominance that used to make every opposition team sit up and take note. The current crop of players is trying to be competitive, but they simply cannot match players of our era.
Alex bought fantastic players,” said Cole as he wiped sweat from his eyebrows after playing a round of golf.
He believes the standard of football in the English Premiership is high and competition is stiff.
“It was surprising last season to see big sides like Man U, Arsenal and Manchester City bow to minnows Leicester City, who won the league. This shows a high standard of football.”
Cole rates midfielders Juan Mata, Ander Herrera and defender Antonio Valencia as United’s best players.
“These boys are simply outstanding and delightful to watch for Man United.”