Monday 16 September 2019

'Some of my players are too weak mentally' - Jose Mourinho launches another attack on his own players

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. Photo: Matthews Childs/Action Images via Reuters
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. Photo: Matthews Childs/Action Images via Reuters

James Ducker

Jose Mourinho has issued another blunt appraisal of his Manchester United squad by admitting he is stuck with some players who are too weak mentally to succeed.

The United manager also questioned the overall mindset of his team after declaring that it "doesn't smell right" that the club could have beaten all of the Premier League's top six this season but lost to the three promoted sides.

United trail champions Manchester City by 17 points and Mourinho insisted his team still needed to make a big jump both mentally and in quality terms to compete for the title and Champions League next season.

Asked if it was a question of needing more quality or a better mentality to bridge the gap, Mourinho - whose side face West Ham United tonight - said: "Both. How many points separate us from Manchester City?

"Not two, three or four - a lot of points. I think we need both things that you mentioned. Some of the people we have, they have to be more consistent in their performance, and we need more quality.

"I trust some more than others that can bridge that gap. That's normal. I know the players. I worked with the players for a couple of years. I know them better than anyone.

"And, of course, some of the players I am totally convinced are going to make it. Some others I have good hopes that they are going to make it and others I don't believe they are going to make it."

Nonetheless, Mourinho claimed it was not as simple as offloading the players he did not "love" and intimated that only Pep Guardiola, the City manager, had the luxury in England of being empowered to assemble "the perfect squad".

He said: "Of course we can keep (those players). Unless there is a perfect squad, where you buy one goalkeeper you don't like, you buy another one; you buy a central defender you don't like, you buy another one. Unless you can do that, and you go in the direction of the perfect squad, you have to keep players you don't love.

"When I say love, I say players you don't totally believe have the level of the squad but you have to keep. If you go to the Premier League managers, the majority will tell you the same. In my squad, I have some players where I would like to have better than what I have. That's basic."

Mourinho has had frustrations with the mentalities of Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial, while Matteo Darmian and Daley Blind are likely to be sold.

He said: "If you told me that we lost five matches, and one was against Huddersfield, and one was against Manchester City and one was against Leicester City, and you lose in different circumstances, I say that's human beings playing football. But when you lose against all the teams that were promoted, it doesn't smell right, for me."

Asked how he could address that, Mourinho said: "Try to succeed in getting every player to have the same mentality as I have."

Mourinho also insisted he does not want to sell Paul Pogba and expects the France midfielder to still be at Manchester United next season.

Paris St-Germain are weighing up a move for Pogba, but Mourinho said: "I think he's going to be here next season."

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