It was a rare good day for Manchester United as they ran out 3-1 winners in Wales, overcoming Bob Bradley’s Swansea.
But, in typical fashion, Jose Mourinho and his infamous media skills are grabbing the headlines.
Speaking after the win, as quoted by The Guardian, the Special One spoke about some of his players’ unwillingness to play through the pain.
“In every sport…how many times you play and you are not 100%. I have a friend that is a big tennis player, he tells me he remembers more the times he played with pain than the times he played without any pain. To compete you have to go to the limits. It’s a cultural thing for some and that’s not my culture.”
He continued, this time with even more venom in his words.
“There is a difference between the brave, who want to be there at any cost, and the ones for whom a little pain can make a difference.”
“If I were to speak with the many great football people of this team, they will say many times they played without being 100%. For the team you have to do anything, that is my way of seeing [things].”
Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling are seemingly the targets of the manager’s stinging comments with both missing the trip south. Before the game, Mourinho told MUTV.
“Smalling doesn’t feel that he can play 100% with his pain, Luke Shaw told me this morning that he was not in the condition to play, so we had to build a defensive line.
“Daley Blind has some problems but he put himself available to be on the bench and to try to help the team, so the people that are here are people that I trust for a difficult match.”
United started the game with a laughable defensive lineup including a returning Phil Jones and Ashley Young filling in at right-back. The Swans weren’t able to create enough to test the makeshift backline and when they did find the net, the former was at fault.
If Arsenal face the same backline in a fortnight, Mesut Ozil and co. will tear it to shreds. Mourinho should turn to academy talents Axel Tuanzebe and Roshaun Williams rather than the rash and downright terrible Jones. That’s about as likely as Paul Scholes coming out of retirement.
For Smalling and Shaw, it’s a nadir in their United careers and now face the task of proving to Jose they deserve a reprieve. The Reds’ paltry options at the back mean they shouldn’t find it too difficult to regain their places. That being said, the former Chelsea boss may not even allow the pair the chance, they need only ask teammate Juan Mata what happens if you fall out with the boss.
Rory Murphy, Pundit Arena
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