Sunday 16 December 2018

Jose Mourinho explains why he was right to criticise his Manchester United players in public after Brighton win

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho

Mark Critchley

Jose Mourinho defended his decision to criticise his Manchester United players in public on Saturday night after claiming certain members of his squad lacked “personality, class and desire”.

United responded to their elimination from the Champions League by beating Chris Hughton’s Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 in the FA Cup sixth round to book a place in next month’s Wembley semi finals.

Mourinho, however, was far from happy with what he saw and, a day after his 12-minute monologue bemoaning his squad’s lack of “football heritage”, he accused his players of being “scared to play”.

Scott McTominay was singled out for criticism, with Mourinho claiming the 21-year-old academy graduate had played “played the worst match” since his promotion to the first team squad.

Mourinho went on to praise McTominay’s character and bravery in still showing for the ball despite playing poorly, but he was less sympathetic towards Luke Shaw.

Shaw was substituted at half time by Mourinho and criticised for a lack of forward movement, despite having a hand in United’s opening goal, set up by Nemanja Matic and scored by Romelu Lukaku.

When asked whether such public criticism of his own players was wise, Mourinho claimed he had “nothing to lose” and everything to gain from his motivational methods.

“My calculation is without pressure, they don’t perform well,” he said. “What can I lose? The ones that are always there will be always there.

“You have the kid [McTominay] that didn’t play well at all. I told him already, he was the first one I spoke to in the dressing room, and instead of being critical with him, I was positive with him because you play very bad but you did the basic things.

“One on the basic things is to keep emotional balance, to play with that red shirt that is a heavy one, it is a heavy shirt to wear, and the kid in his worst performance so far, he was there and he had body to wear the red shirt.”

Mourinho added: “He was not afraid to play. He played bad and every player can play bad but to feel not comfortable to play, ‘Please mister, take me from the pitch,’ I felt that.

“I have nothing to lose in relation to that. The strong ones will be always the strong ones. The young ones under pressure and under criticism all improve or don’t improve.”

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