Sunday 16 December 2018

Jose Mourinho ready to welcome Luke Shaw back into his plans as he swipes away questions on Paul Pogba

Jose Mourinho and Luke Shaw have had issues to work on
Jose Mourinho and Luke Shaw have had issues to work on
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Luke Shaw could be back in the Manchester United starting line-up against Swansea on Saturday, after manager Jose Mourinho confirmed he was ready to use the full-back he has criticised in public once again over recent weeks.

Shaw was taken off at half-time in United's FA Cup quarter-final win against Brighton last month, with Mourinho suggesting he had not option other than to remove the player who was 'not defending properly'.

It was the latest example of Mourinho criticising a player he has chastised on numerous occasions during his time as United boss, with this latest spat sparking fresh rumours of the player's exit from the club.

Yet with Ashley Young struggling to be fit for Saturday's game against Swansea after picking up a knock playing for England against Italy on Tuesday, Mourinho has confirmed he is ready to hand Shaw another chance to impress.

"If he’s available, Luke Shaw is always an option,'" declared Mourinho. "Ashley Young was available to play against Brighton, so I started with Luke Shaw, so that’s not a problem.

"Young had a problem in the last part of the game against Italy, but we think there is a chance for him to recover."

The futures of Shaw and club record signing Paul Pogba have been under the spotlight after both players appeared to fall out of favour with Mourinho, but the United boss dismissed reports he spoke to France boss Didier Deschamps over Pogba's form.

"That’s not true, the last time I spoke to him was when we faced each other in 2004," he said, referring to the 2004 Champions League final when Mourinho's Porto beat Deschamp's Monaco before adding: "I don’t speak about my players’ international form."

Jose Mourinho’s relationship with Paul Pogba is coming under increasing scrutiny as the Frenchman struggles to justify his huge transfer fee. Photo: Getty Images

Mourinho will come up against a compatriot when he takes on Swansea boss Carlos Carvalhal, with the United boss confirming he had called his touchline rival this weekend to thank him for suggesting his success has helped other Portuguese managers get chances at top European clubs.

"I spoke with Carlos last night," confirmed Mourinho. "He said I was the king of coaches, not the king of football, for my winning periods with Porto, and because when I left Portugal, I opened the door for more Portuguese coaches to leave. I thanked him for his nice words.

"They’ve improved a lot, we played them at the start but after that they had a difficult period. Since Carlos arrived it’s obvious the team has improved a lot. They’ve got many points people wouldn’t have expected them to get.

"We are facing a team that is very well organised, they have a clear idea of their defensive movements and they are dangerous on the counter attack. They’re powerful in set pieces using the aerial ability of their three central defenders. They found a way to get points and are doing amazingly well."

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