Jose Mourinho has refused to blame David Moyes for Manchester United's recent difficulties and is adamant the Scot's dismissal from Old Trafford in 2014 does not make him any less of a manager.
Moyes replaced Alex Ferguson as the man in charge in 2013, but the 53-year-old failed to lead United to major silverware and was sacked towards the end of his first season at the club, with Louis van Gaal named as his permanent replacement.
United have struggled ever since, but incumbent boss Mourinho insists Moyes, now at Sunderland, is not solely responsible for their current predicament.
"I do not feel the weight of expectation as a burden. I feel the great history of the club, it has only positive things and not negative things," Mourinho told reporters ahead of Monday's clash with Sunderland.
"If you have conditions to follow that successful history, then that is a different story. One thing is [having] Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham and [Nicky] Butt, all these guys at 25 or 26 or 27 years old. Another thing is to have them at 30, 31 or 32.
"Moyes did not have them, and obviously that plays a part, there are generations. In a certain period when probably David came, the situation was not so easy, it was not so easy to go in that winning direction. At the same time, and I think this is even more important, the Premier League was changing.
"I do not know if Moyes faced a bigger challenge than me. I would not mind to be in a club with great expectations but have Ryan Giggs and Chicharito [Javier Hernandez], [Nemanja] Vidic at the time and [Patrice] Evra. I would not mind.
"But I think a manager who is not sacked is not a manager, or at least not a good manager. We have to be sacked. I think it was just a bad moment in David's career and he has to do what I did, what we all do, move on, and he did that.
"After Manchester United he went to Spain [Real Sociedad], also a different experience for him, then back to England, back in the Premier League. I think he moved on and this is what we have to do."