'Lack of personality, class and desire' - Jose Mourinho's blasts Man United players after FA Cup win
Jose Mourinho launched an extraordinary attack on his players after their 2-0 FA Cup win against Brighton, accusing most of his team of lacking 'personality, desire and class'.
After a week that started with United's exit from the Champions League and Mourinho's outspoken post-match press conference suggesting their European demise was 'no big surprise', the United boss then served up a lengthy rant defending his record in the face of a firestorm of criticism.
While goals from Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic fired United into the FA Cup semi-finals against a gallant Brighton side at Old Trafford, Mourinho's latest post match comments will again become the focus of attention in the coming days.
This is a manager noted for defending his players in public, but he didn't hold back when asked by BT Sport touchline reporter Des Kelly whether he was happy with his side's performance on a night when they had just two shots on target.
"No, I didn't like the game," declared Mourinho. "We deserved to win. We scored two goals they didn't so we clearly deserve, but I didn't have the reaction I wanted.
I didn’t like the game, I think we deserved to win because the game was more or less in control for the majority of the time. We scored two goals and they didn’t score and we were in control for the majority of the time.
"We didn’t play the way I wanted to play, I didn’t have the reaction from all of them. I had the reaction from some of them. And because some of them were mentally strong enough and with football quality to play was the reason why we won.
"A team of XI when you don’t have a minimum of six or seven players wanting to play and wanting to have the responsibility of having the ball and the desire to play. Because one thing is to play and it’s another thing to be on the pitch it’s difficult to have a good performance, so no, I’m not happy with the performance at all.
"When I spend two days on faster building up with the ball arriving earlier in between the lines in attacking areas and that depends on qualities and decisions by defenders in possession, but also depends on movement from attacking players.
"I arrive here attacking players were hiding behind the defenders and not wanting the ball, defenders playing square passes and taking 10,12 passes to go from one line to another line. It is frustrating."
Mourinho then expanded his criticism of his players, as he questioned their desire and attitude in a very public show of annoyance.
"As a coach the biggest frustration is not the result, because some time that can happen. The biggest frustration for me is when I work on the pitch and I see contradictions in the match," he continued.
"Statistics are fake, sometimes teams have 10 shots and eight of them go to the stands and one goes in goal but is an easy shot to save. Stats don’t mean a lot.
"What means to me is that we prepare the team to be more aggressive to attack the last line much more and play in between the lines much more.
"And that connection between defenders in possession and attacking players wanting the ball, and having the right movement to get the ball. That connection didn’t work.
"I want more personality in the team because many many times I felt that Matic was an island of personality of desire and control surrounded by not water but lack of personality, lack of class and lack of desire."
Mourinho also confirmed that he replaced Luke Shaw at half-time as the player did not live up to the standards expected of him, with these latest comments certain to add to the sense of confusion this complex manager is determined to spread in his dressing room right now.
It appears that Mourinho is challenging his players to respond to his stinging criticism, but there has to be a danger that they could turn against him, as was the case in his final days at Chelsea.
Mourinho is rolling the dice once again and there is no guarantee that he will end up as a winner of this high stakes game at United.