'Is there a fear factor?' - Manchester United legend suspects Jose Mourinho's criticism is affecting his players
Manchester United legend Paul McGrath has questioned whether Jose Mourinho's persistent public criticism of his players has created a fear factor inside his dressing room.
United manager Mourinho was highly critical of his players once more as he labelled their first half performance at Bournemouth on Saturday as 'a disaster', with Sunday World columnist McGrath suggesting that criticism is deflecting attention away from his own failings.
"I wonder whether these public dressing downs are contributing to a fear factor in the Manchester United dressing room," said McGrath.
"The United manager came out after the game and suggested his players had not followed his instructions as they started the game so slowly, but it is his job to get them motivated and ready for battle and all too often, they fail to get going from the first whistle.
"I wonder whether the threat of getting a dressing down from the manager in public and behind closed doors is affecting some of these players because they play so cautiously and don’t seem to have any self-belief.
"Manchester United used to start games quickly and maintain their momentum for 90 minutes, but this team seem to play in fits and starts and that will not be good enough to get them where they want to be.
"Who is to blame? The manager has to take his share of responsibility and the fact that he has not always looked like he wanted to be at United in recent months has not helped the deflated mood around the club.
"Then you look at the players and I wonder whether some of them have agents talking in their ears because they are not performing like we know they can."
McGrath fears for his former club when they take on Italian champions Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday night and then take on Manchester City in a derby game next Sunday.
"If United play like the did in the first half at Bournemouth, they will be hammered by Juve and Man City and Mourinho’s comments after the Bournemouth suggest he is heading into those games not knowing how his players will perform," added McGrath.
"Something is very wrong at United and even though the pressure has been relieved on Mourinho with some decent results in recent weeks, things could turn against him very quickly in these next two matches.
"We are talking about one of the top two or three clubs in world football here, but they are not playing like that and I fear for them when they take on Juventus and City in the next week."